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World and business leaders gather for talks

Updated: Mar 26,2015 2:51 PM

The 2015 Boao Forum for Asia is slated to kick off on March the 26th in the scenic town of Boao, in South China’s tropical island province of Hainan. The annual conference, themed “Asia’s New Future: Toward a Community of Common Destiny’, includes more than 70 events, focusing on Asia’s economy, global politics, technological innovation and much more.

An increasingly global event attended by global decision-makers.

The 2015 Boao Forum will host more VIPs from across the globe than that in the previous years. An estimated 5,000 people will be arriving on this small island for important talks. President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the opening ceremony on March the 28th.

Since it was founded 14 years ago, promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries closer to their development goals has been at the core of the forum’s mission. Highlights this year include China’s two initiatives, the joint construction of the “One Belt One Road”, and membership of the AIIB, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

“Many experts and economists are worried about security in some of the countries along the proposed trade routes of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiatives. They’re worried that investment in such places may not be safe. But the initiatives are being welcome by all the countries involved, because a better economy helps to elevate people out of poverty, which in turn is a positive factor for social stability. For China, as well, it brings more opportunities to the export, logistics and infrastructure sectors, and helps create market demand for sectors suffering overcapacity,” Zhao Qingming, analyst with China Financial Futures Exchange, said.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road took shape last year with a focus on infrastructure, connecting the Eurasia community through land and sea. Meanwhile, as the deadline to join the AIIB nears, leaders are also here to discuss their interests. With 27 countries having first signed up for membership, there has been a lot of interest from Europe. Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland have so far officially applied to join. Others are still deciding whether to join.

“The AIIB has already expanded from a regional mechanism to a global one, with many European economies joining in. This suits the growing demand for economic growth in Asia. It’s supplementary to the existing financial order, but also an innovation. New things are always feared and challenged by existing orders. But attitudes are changing and many more economies outside Asia have recently gone from negative to positive. There’s no stopping it playing its role once it’s formed,” Zhao said.

As the host country, China hopes the forum will promote the consolidarity and cooperation among Asian nations as well as the regional integration process.

China’s economic growth has slowed in recent years and it plans to keep developing at an even slower rate, but at the same time it’s actively seeking new models of growth by joining hands with partners, introducing new schemes. In the next few days this island town will come alive with decision-makers, business executives and entrepreneurs, all ready to have their say on the direction of Asia’s new future.