China's Belt and Road Initiative can help make up for infrastructure funding gap to support ASEAN's regional initiatives namely the ASEAN Economic Community 2025 (AEC 2025) and Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025).
ASEAN countries are in dire need of infrastructure financing. According to the Asian Development Bank, ASEAN would require about US$2.3 trillion to $2.8 trillion of infrastructure investment from 2016 to 2030, or $184 billion to $210 billion annually. However, the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund (AIF) has a total equity of $485.3 million. Although AIF's portfolio is estimated to rise to $700 million by end-2017, it is still insufficient to fill ASEAN's financing gap.
Which Southeast Asian nations are likely to be the main beneficiaries of MSR (Maritime Silk Road)? At the time of this writing, the immediate gainers are the maritime states in the region. Some evidence suggests that Chinese capital is pouring into these areas to invest in ports and related facilities as well as industrial parks. For example, COSCO, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, holds 49% stake in COSCO-PSA Terminal projects in Singapore.
Beibu Gulf Holding Co. Ltd bought 38% equity to secure a 30-year management of Kuantan Port in Malaysia. Moreover, China and Malaysia are jointly developing an industrial park in Kuantan in Malaysia for steel, aluminium, and palm oil production. Beijing and Kuala Lumpur also signed an MOU on port alliance to boost their bilateral trade.