Brand and Road: Does China’s policy deserve the hype?

China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a masterclass in branding. But its other successes are less clear.

After China held a huge summit to promote its Belt and Road Initiative this week, it is worth taking a moment to consider quite how much the policy and the country has achieved.

There is little doubt that China is changing the face of the global economy. The country has long been a magnet for foreign direct investment, attracting more than $100 billion of FDI in each of the last seven years. But it has now become an exporter of capital.

In 2016, overseas direct investment by Chinese companies exceeded foreign investment for the first time in at least a decade. Chinese ODI was $170 billion in...

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