China to create Marine Silk Road Bank to fund infrastructure development

Shipping containers at the port in Qingdao, China. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Shipping containers at the port in Qingdao, China. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - China plans to establish a new bank to fund development of the "New Silk Road", pouring billions of dollars into projects to revive intercontinental land routes and maritime links through central Asia, state media reported on Thursday.

The official China Securities Journal said related government departments would establish the "Marine Silk Road Bank", with a minimum paid-in capital of 5 billion yuan (S$1.05 billion), to be funded by the Marine Silk Road Investment Management Fund and by unnamed Asean member countries.

China's president Xi Jinping said on Saturday that China would put US$40 billion (S$51.6 billion) into a special New Silk Road fund to drive investment in infrastructure, speed industrial and financial cooperation and "break the connectivity bottleneck" in Asia.

The initiative will also reduce China's dependence on freight lines dominated by European shippers and its exposure to sea lanes patrolled by the US navy, plus develop new markets for Chinese exports.

Chinese stock markets have celebrated the news, seen as directing fresh spending toward infrastructure-related companies.