New Map of the Belt and Road Initiative

05 Mar 2021 - 16:57
Source: LeidenAsiaCentre

This article was originally published by the LeidenAsiaCentre

The Belt and Road Research Platform, a joint initiative of the LeidenAsiaCentre and the Clingendael China Centre, has launched a new map of the Belt and Road Initiative. Click here for more information and to view the map on the Platform’s website.

The BRI and China's International Trade

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The Belt and Road Research Platform has developed a new map to display the Belt and Road Initiative in relation to China’s international trade. Although there are already plenty of maps which attempt to display the Belt and Road Initiative, we believe that there was a need for a novel approach: integrating the BRI into China’s international trade patterns. This approach stands out because of a few distinct features

First of all, whereas many maps simply display projects or hubs that label themselves as being part of the BRI, our map focuses on what is actually important for China’s international trade. The “BRI” label has lost some of its significance, since many officials and project developers tend to use this label to increase the status of their projects, even though these projects might not come to full fruition or play a relatively minor role in Chinese international trade flows. Instead, our map displays only the hubs and corridors that are of actual significance to the BRI. Combined with the representation of other focal points of Chinese international trade patterns, and an overview of China’s trade position for every country in the world (in different shades of green), it becomes clear what is really important to the BRI and to China’s international trade.

Secondly, the map has been designed in a way that allows viewers to see in one glance what the BRI is about. Through making a strict selection of hubs and trade flows, and by choosing visual clarity over the geographical representation of the corridors, we hope to have realized this aim.

Finally, in contrast to most other maps of the BRI, this latest approach displays the whole world. This reflects the Belt and Road Platform’s global approach to understanding the BRI. Furthermore, the BRI has currently also reached regions such as South America, which many maps overlook.

Text last updated on March 1 2021

Feel free to use this map for non-commercial purposes and by respecting the references to the Belt and Road Research Platform.

The Belt and Road Research Platform ( is a joint initiative of the LeidenAsiaCentre and the Clingendael China Centre to improve the accessibility of open access academic information about the Belt and Road Initiative.