This Guide is not an introduction to the Belt & Road Initiative, and it does not attempt to explain
the myriad routes, projects, or politics behind the BRI. These subjects have been covered in some
depth elsewhere and were, in any event, dealt with in my previous book, ‘China’s New Economic
Silk Road’ which was published in 2015 and was assigned as required reading for Cambridge
University’s third-year undergraduate course, “China in the International Order”. This book can
be found on Amazon.
Things have subsequently moved on. This 2021 Guide is aimed at a business audience and is
designed to take the reader on a descriptive journey as to the component parts of the Belt &
Road Initiative from the opportunity perspective. In this case, at this moment, this Guide is unique.
I claim this as I have a 30-year career in advising foreign investors into China and Asia, handling
billions of dollars worth of investments into the region. I have experienced firsthand the rise of
China and see where opportunities and problems have arisen. I have also invested myself,
establishing the consulting practice Dezan Shira & Associates (www.dezshira.com) back in 1992.
Today we have 28 offices throughout Asia and employ several hundred staff. I am personally
invested in the business in the region. I have also traveled – and of the 147 countries and regions
currently making up the BRI, I have spent time and advised clients from about half of them.
This Guide then explains from the business angle how China has not just built project
infrastructure as part of the BRI but deliberately interconnected this with a massive, global
diplomatic push to install tax treaties, reduce trade barriers, integrate with other national
development plans, and pave the way for increased multilateral commerce. As part of that,
opportunities have arisen for international investors and businesses to exploit what has been
happening and begin to see where returns on investments can be made by riding on the back
of the Belt and Road.

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