When Chinese President Xi Jinping announced in October 2013 his country’s plans to establish another multilateral development bank called the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, reactions were mixed.
Some stakeholders welcomed the idea, mainly as a way to fund Asia-Pacific’s huge infrastructure investment needs, but others have serious doubts over the Chinese government’s capacity to actually establish — not to mention operate — such an institution.
China appears unfazed about those concerns and insists it can have the AIIB up and running by next year. Mongolia was the first country to sign a memorandum of understanding to join the bank, while Japan and South Korea are currently studying membership offers. However, one of the biggest signs that Beijing is dead serious about setting up the institution is the appointment of Jin Liqun, chairman of the China International Capital Corp., as the head of the group tasked with making the AIIB a reality.
In a speech at the Boao Forum for Asia, Jin explained the rationale behind the establishment of the China-led bank saying that Asia-Pacific — and the rest of the world — needs additional help not just financially but also in terms of leadership.