Silk Road and Chinese Globalisation

Past: the Ancient Silk Road (Chinese: 絲綢之路)

  • old network of caravan and trade routes which spread from Chinese Xi’an to Mediterranean Sea / to Europe

  • about 100 BC till 1300 AD: economically quite important (silk to Europe in exchange for wool, gold and silver)

  • also: ways for travellers, movement of peoples / cultures
  • since 2014: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Present: Globalization

  • since 1978: open trade relations with other states, over many decades: strengthening the economy
  • today: economically and technologically powerful with global reach, leading maritime navy, Germany’s (and almost a hundred other states) most important trading partner as of 2017
  • since 2013: economic, but also increasing world-wide influence in global politics and military affairs as well as culture

Future: so-called „new Silk Road Initiative“

  • largest investment program since European Recovery Program 1948 (nearly a trillion dollars in loans planned); investments mostly in developing countries, such as East Africa – economic boost in the region
  • Challenges: protection of workers and projects in crisis areas
  • geographical Location:

=>north: roads / rails via Central Asia to German Duisburg

=>Maritime Silk Road: from the Chinese coast via East Africa to the Mediterranean to Greece / Venice

  • Not only exporting goods, but also services (eg. infrastructure projects) in exchange for resources (such as Lithium and Cobalt)

Goals of China:

  • Supporting the Chinese economy
  • Recovery of Chinese provinces
  • Position as an alternative to Western financial institutions


Finally, an open question whether and how China will dominate and its impact to the world


(Niklas Krofta)