China’s belt and road initiative and regional perceptions of China


China’s growing outward investment in Asia-Pacific is motivated by the potential for economic gains, but could also affect regional geopolitical risk. Using survey data from 2005 to 2016, we show that an increase in Chinese FDI in a country improves respondents’ perceptions of Chinese influence on their country. We also show that perceptions of China are correlated with future business confidence in Asia-Pacific countries. With China advancing plans for further regional investment, notably through the Belt and Road Initiative, the economic and business outlook for Asia-Pacific could improve significantly, adding to existing advantages from regional economic and demographic trends.

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Fig. 1

Source Rolland (2017). Originally appearing in “West China seeks fortune on modern silk road,” Xinhua, May 15, 2016, Originally published in Chinese in Xinhua, 2014

Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    The China Global Investment Tracker database categorizes transactions as “troubled” if the commercial terms of a deal are altered after the deal is finalized, or if the deal is canceled for non-commercial reasons. In this study, we exclude troubled transactions from our measure of aggregate (country-level) investment.

  2. 2.

    For more information about survey methodology and sampling procedures for the ABS, visit


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to John O’Trakoun.

Additional information

Data analyzed in this article were collected by the Asian Barometer Project (2005–2016), which was co-directed by Professors Fu Hu and Yun-han Chu and received major funding support from Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, Academia Sinica and National Taiwan University. The Asian Barometer Project Office ( is solely responsible for the data distribution. The author(s) appreciate the assistance in providing data by the institutes and individuals aforementioned. The views expressed herein are the author’s own.

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O’Trakoun, J. China’s belt and road initiative and regional perceptions of China. Bus Econ 53, 17–24 (2018).

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  • China
  • Belt and road
  • FDI
  • Perception
  • Business risk

JEL Classification

  • F21
  • F61
  • F63