Delving into the BRI: How regional players plan to leverage BRI business opportunities

Belt and road initiative business survey report 2019

Connecting the Belt and Road Initiative with infrastructure opportunities

The survey reveals that regional players are more interested in participating in economic infrastructure development which will support trade and industrialisation. When asked to pick infrastructure sectors where they saw BRI opportunities, the highest proportion of respondents (43%) chose smart cities/urban development, followed by industrial estates and SEZs (41%), ICT (information and communications technology), roads and ports (39% each). Rail (36%) and water/wastewater (34%) are also seen as high-priority sectors for BRI opportunities.

Balancing opportunities and risks

When asked to choose one or more entities where respondents see opportunities partnering with, 75% of respondents identified that they see opportunities in partnering with BRI country governments in ASEAN and South Asia, a clear indication that they recognised the importance of partnership with local governments to successfully deliver infrastructure projects.

All infrastructure project developments have inherent risks and the risk allocation among public and private stakeholders must be carefully balanced. When asked about the top risks they associated with BRI projects, 75% of respondents cited political risk, followed by 68% for financial risk and 64% for governance as key risks in BRI projects. Having weighed the opportunities and risks, majority of the respondents (77%) indicated plans to be involved in BRI projects between now and in 3 years time (2021).

Vietnam emerged as the BRI sweet spot

With regards to countries for investment, the level of interest shown by the respondents in our survey is relatively well-distributed across most countries, with Vietnam taking the lead according to 66% of the respondents. This is followed by Singapore (57%), Indonesia (57%), Myanmar (50%), Malaysia (50%) and Thailand (48%).  Among those who selected partnering with country governments in ASEAN and South Asia, 64% of respondents selected Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand (all tied in the number 1 spot) as their preferred BRI government partner. Vietnam having emerged as the top in both lists suggest its strong BRI prospects.

"The involvement of third party countries with the right experience, expertise and resources provide the developing ASEAN and South Asian countries the necessary support in infrastructure development. Given the infrastructure gap in ASEAN and South Asia, cross-border collaboration will be essential in driving development in ASEAN and South Asia."

Jennifer TayPartner, Capital Projects & Infrastructure

About the report

This report is jointly produced by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and PwC Singapore. An invitation-only online survey was conducted in June 2019, whereby senior representatives from organisations across a broad range of sectors and geographical locations were asked about their interest, level of involvement and plans with regards to business opportunities arising from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the Association of South-East Asian Nation (ASEAN) and South Asia region. Based on the survey, this report provides a high-level description of the regional infrastructure landscape and BRI-related developments, as well as an analysis and key highlights of the survey’s results.

Contact us

Mark Rathbone

Mark Rathbone

Asia Pacific Capital Projects & Infrastructure Leader, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 9625 5206

Jennifer Tay

Jennifer Tay

Partner, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 8876 9300

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