Mary Boyd is responsible for program development and client servicing in Shanghai, and provides research and conceptual support on China for EIU’s Corporate Network programs. Before joining The Economist, she was in the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, serving on assignment in Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan and China. Since leaving government service she has researched and published on economic development and governance issues in China, and has undertaken consultancy work for the World Bank and other international institutions, as well as multinational companies. She has written for a number of Economist Intelligence Unit publications, including Country Report, China Hand, and Business China and co-authored the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Taking on the Competition: Domestic Companies in China. She has an MA in Area Studies and an MSc in Public Policy and Management from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and has also completed language studies at Nanjing University. Her research interests include local governance and decentralization policies, and public-sector reform.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) unpacked China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) plan and explored the risks that will face companies in this “New Silk Road Economic Belt.” Up to sixty countries may be included with stops across three different continents. In addition to political objectives, OBOR brings a strategic focus which encourages Chinese firms to go abroad in search of new markets or investment opportunities. Led from the highest levels of the government the OBOR push is backed by substantial financial firepower, with the government has launching a US$50bn Silk Road Fund directly supporting OBOR. While the strategy promises opportunities for domestic companies, the route is unlikely to be an even one. The proposed countries range from Singapore to Syria, and the companies involved could be heading into territories that may be strategically important for China’s foreign relations, but quite challenging to navigate.