Friday October 19, 2018
Home Business Creating a Ne...

Creating a New Silk Road: China’s Billion Dollar Investment to Expand its Transportation Network

With an incredible journey ahead, the extensive network that will come from it, the new Silk Road is looking better than ever.

0
//
20
Pakistan
. The difference between the two validate the investments made on the road, and give a hopeful image for the future.
Republish
Reprint

Not everybody may be familiar with the Silk Road, or how long it’s been around. Dating back to Alexander the Great, let’s say that the road was a very long commute option for merchants. With its starting point in Venice, Italy and stretching through Istanbul, Damascus, Baghdad, Samarkand and Tashkent, the road used to bring its passengers all the way to Chang’an (today known as Xi’an) in China. Surprisingly enough, we are still very much adamant in using the passageway today. The new Silk Road investment plan started back in 2012, and just keeps growing.

One mention of the road’s continuous expansion is a recent train trip taken following the old, and new route combined. Last November a train left from a small town in Mortara, Italy and travelled all the way to the bustling metropolis of Chengdu, China. The train left with 34 wagons full of various goods, and was to compete with the boats that usually carry out the same business in 48 days. However, surprise surprise, after travelling for 10,800 kilometers, and crossing 6 countries (Italy, Austria, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Kazakhstan) the train arrived in Chengdu after only 18 days. Yes, only because it took a month less than their neighboring boat route. The route is now part of the overarching train system that follows the new Silk Road, inaugurated back in 2012 in Duisburg, Germany.

china
The Silk Road on the sides of Indus river, Wikimedia Commons

Overall, the 18-day result was very well received by merchants and traders. The difference between the two validate the investments made on the road, and give a hopeful image for the future. The route shows just how close Europe and Asia can get, and all the possibilities this closeness can bring. A main spokesman for the new Silk Road project has been Chinese president Xi Jinping, who has often spoken about investments and projects in his foreign policy plans.

In fact, China has been a very big player in the general new Silk Road project. In 2013 China announced the “One Belt, One Road” project. The plan aims at revisiting, and upgrading the infrastructure network – roads, railways, ports, airports – found along the road. The renovated network will go to improve trade between Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Last May, the Chinese government pledged an additional $124 billion investment, announcing that the project should be completed by 2049.

china
A visitor walks past the statues of the characters from the Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West’ Thursday March 15, 2007 in Lanzhou, China. Lanzhou was an important town along with the ancient Silk Road connecting China and Europe. VOA

The project will focus on creating new transcontinental trading corridors between the countries. Two by sea and 6 by land, the corridors will strengthen the trading routes between Asia and Europe, and will go on to include Russia as well. With an incredible journey ahead, the extensive network that will come from it, the new Silk Road is looking better than ever.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2018 NewsGram

Next Story

Shanghai Airport Gets Check-In With Facial Recognition Machines

Increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

0
Shanghai,
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection facial recognition device is ready to scan another passenger at a United Airlines gate. VOA

It’s now possible to check in automatically at Shanghai Hongqiao airport using facial recognition technology, part of an ambitious rollout of facial recognition systems in China that has raised privacy concerns as Beijing pushes to become a global leader in the field.

Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport unveiled self-service kiosks for flight and baggage check-in, security clearance and boarding powered by facial recognition technology, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Similar efforts are under way at airports in Beijing and Nanyang city, in central China’s Henan province.

Shanghai,
Face recognition tool was first launched in 2012

Many airports in China already use facial recognition to help speed security checks, but Shanghai’s system, which debuted Monday, is being billed as the first to be fully automated.

“It is the first time in China to achieve self-service for the whole check-in process,” said Zhang Zheng, general manager of the ground services department for Spring Airlines, the first airline to adopt the system at Hongqiao airport. Currently, only Chinese identity card holders can use the technology.

Spring Airlines, Shanghai said Tuesday that passengers had embraced automated check-in, with 87 percent of 5,017 people who took Spring flights on Monday using the self-service kiosks, which can cut down check-in times to less than a minute and a half.

Shanghai,
Rana el Kaliouby, CEO of the Boston-based artificial intelligence firm Affectiva, demonstrates the company’s facial recognition technology, in Boston, April 23, 2018. VOA

Across greater China, facial recognition is finding its way into daily life. Mainland police have used facial recognition systems to identify people of interest in crowds and nab jaywalkers, and are working to develop an integrated national system of surveillance camera data.

Chinese media are filled with reports of ever-expanding applications: A KFC outlet in Hangzhou, near Shanghai, where it’s possible to pay using facial recognition technology; a school that uses facial recognition cameras to monitor students’ reactions in class; and hundreds of ATMs in Macau equipped with facial recognition devices to curb money laundering.

Also Read: Facial Recognition Technology Catches A Person With Fake Passpost At The US Airport 

But increased convenience may come at a cost in a country with few rules on how the government can use biometric data.

“Authorities are using biometric and artificial intelligence to record and track people for social control purposes,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. “We are concerned about the increasing integration and use of facial recognition technologies throughout the country because it provides more and more data points for the authorities to track people.” (VOA)