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Research & Impact

The Belt and Road Initiative and the Chinese Economy

The Belt and Road Initiative and the Chinese Economy


In seeking the response from participating countries in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, particularly to draw on collective wisdom and efforts from various stakeholders, China Economic Research Programme (CERP) has organised several international conferences and seminars on the topic of the Belt and Road Initiative and the Chinese Economy.


The “2017 Hong Kong Forum on the Belt and Road Initiative: Dialogue and Cooperation between China and Asian Countries” was held at the Exchange Auditorium, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited on October 2017. This forum invited Dr Bernard Chan Pak-li, Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development to attend as an officiating guest. The moderators are Prof Leonard K Cheng, President and Prof Wei Xiangdong, Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences of Lingnan University. The seven keynote speakers included:

  1. Prof Justin Lin Yifu, Counsellor of the State Council; Former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of World Bank
  2. Prof Ba Shusong, Chief China Economist, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited
  3. Prof Yuan Yue, Chairman of Dataway Horizon Group and Adjunct Professor of School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University
  4. Mr Abdul Qadir Memon, Consul General of Pakistan for Hong Kong and Macau
  5. Mr Tengku Sirajuzzaman, Consul General, Consulate General of Malaysia for Hong Kong and Macau
  6. Prof Francis T Lui, Honorary Director, China Economic Research Programme, Lingnan University and Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
  7. Prof Larry Qiu Dongxiao, Associate Dean, Faculty of Business and Economics, The University of Hong Kong and President, Hong Kong Economic Association


The Belt and Road Initiative and the Chinese Economy


Prof Justin Lin Yifu, Counsellor of the State Council; Former Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of World Bank delivered “The Belt and Road Initiative: Implications and Opportunities for the Developing World” report.


In 2018, the “International Forum on the Change of American Trade Policies and the Possible Responses from China” was held at the CCB Tower in Central.


Prof Leonard K CHENG, President of Lingnan University co-hosted the forum with Prof WEI Xiangdong, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Director of China Economic Research Programme. The four keynote speakers were:

  1. Prof Jesús SEADE ─ Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs for North America of the Mexican Government; Mexican Government’s Chief Representative of Trade Negotiation for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement; former Deputy Director-General of the WTO; Emeritus Professor in the Department of Economics and former Vice-President of Lingnan University.
  2. Prof WEI Shangjin – former Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank; N.T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy, Columbia University, US.
  3. Dr David WONG Yau-Kar – Hong Kong Deputy to the National People’s Congress; Chairman of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority.
  4. Mr YUE Yi – former Vice President of Bank of China; former Vice-chairman and Chief Executive of Bank of China (Hong Kong); Director of Belt and Road Hong Kong Centre and Bay Area Hong Kong Centre.


We also launched the Belt & Road Initiative Talk Series and two public lectures were presented by Singapore and Malaysia’s Consul-General in November and December 2018 respectively.


World Currency Unit

The World Currency Unit (WCU), or alternatively and perhaps more accurately, the “Global Purchasing Power Unit”(GPU), is an indexed unit of account that stands for a unit of real global purchasing power. Proposed by Prof. HO Lok-sang in a paper in World Economy in 2000 when he was a Professor of Economics at Lingnan University, Hong Kong, it was first intended to be the basis for denominating global bonds. Such bonds can serve as a reserve asset and offer the advantages of proofing against inflation and exchange risk containment at the same time. Since then the conceptual paper has grown into a project to demonstrate its workability. A website was developed based on several experimentations with alternative formulae, ending up with annual reweighting of the underlying currency basket. The website at first offered daily quotations of the benchmark basket as well as the inflation-indexed basket in 10 currencies. It was extended to 20 currencies. A recent paper by Ho (2018) provides more details.


Irving Fisher in his 1911 book The Purchasing Power of Money had advised that the purchasing power of money should be stable if it is to serve as a unit of account, a trusted medium of exchange, and a reliable store of value. Unfortunately, substances that exist by the bounty of nature, such as gold or silver, cannot have such property since their values fluctuate with changing supply and demand. This is the motivation behind all indexed units of account, of which Robert Shiller of Yale University is a principal proponent.


Further details about the World Currency Unit (WCU) can be found on this link:



Ho, Lok Sang (2018) In search of a unit of stable global purchasing power, International Review of Economics and Finance. 56 (2018) 99–108.