Special Issue "OBOR—One Belt One Road Research: New Forms of International and Cross-Industry Collaboration for Sustainable Growth and Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Miltiadis D. Lytras
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. School of Business, Deree—The American College of Greece, 6 Gravias Street GR-153 42 Aghia Paraskevi, Athens, Greece
2. Effat University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Interests: cognitive computing; artificial intelligence; data science; bioinformatics; innovation; big data research; data mining; emerging technologies; information systems; technology driven innovation; knowledge management; semantic web
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Anna Visvizi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. School of Business, Deree—The American College of Greece, 6 Gravias Street GR-153 42 Aghia Paraskevi Athens, Greece 2. Effat University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Interests: smart cities; migration; innovation networks; international business; political economy; economic integration; politics; EU, Central Europe, China
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Peiquan Jin
E-Mail
Guest Editor
University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China
Interests: data science; artificial intelligence; information systems; data analytics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Building on the tradition, promises and advances brought by the historical Silk Road, the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, launched by the Chinese Government in 2013, has the potential of re-drawing the map of checks and balances in today’s global economy. Exploiting the advantages of liberalization of trade in goods, services, capital, and public procurement, OBOR (also known as the New Silk Road) aims at benefiting the Chinese economy and international business, while also fostering business to business (B2B), peer to peer (P2P) collaboration and, last but not least, cultural exchange. OBOR is likely to re-shape the way we conceive of, conceptualize and manage manufacturing, logistics, and policies, most profoundly innovation policy, geared toward attaining sustainable growth and development especially in emerging markets. Given the profound implications OBOR is likely to generate in the fields of businesses, economy, society and politics, it is imperative to frame and streamline the discussion in view of identifying the key mechanisms and causal relationships that it induces. The objective of this Special Issue is to address this imperative and to query OBOR from a variety of disciplinary perspectives grounded in sound conceptual and empirical research. The intention of the Guest Editors is to encourage debate, research and, ultimately, a Special Issue that will serve as a reference for all researchers, academics, practitioners, consultants and policy makers interested in OBOR and other equally bold collaboration schemes.

This Special Issue, realized as a part of the mission underlying the Silk-IT-Road, i.e., Distributed International Network of Excellence for Research and Innovation, seeks to identify, query, discuss and deliver to the global community of researchers, practitioners, influencers the latest, top-quality insights into the developments, challenges, risks and opportunities as they unfold along the New Silk Road.

The Editors of the Special Issue welcome papers that address, but are not limited to, the following issues and topics.

Examples of topics of interest include:

  • Studies on R&D related to OBOR vision;
  • Elaboration on the concept of the New Silk Road in context of modern global business environment;
  • Smart applications for different domains of OBOR vision.; emphasis on transportation, infrastructures, distributed information systems, artificial intelligence, smart cities
  • Advanced information and communication technologies in context of OBOR, including internet of things, data mining, analytics, cloud computing, enterprise information systems, block chain technology, collaborative platforms, production automation systems, etc.;
  • Policy-making and sustainable government initiatives for international strategic alliances;
  • R&D and innovation policies: strategies, approaches, comparative insights;
  • Strategic research partnerships of Chinese and international research institutions for the provision of OBOR value adding services;
  • The role of international organizations, MNEs and other actors in the process of implementing OBOR;
  • Business to business and peer to peer connections along the New Silk Road;
  • Case studies, prototypes and project deliverables related to OBOR;
  • Public consultation and open smart democracy.

Prof. Miltiadis D. Lytras
Prof. Anna Visvizi
Prof. Peiquan Jin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • OBOR
  • Silk road
  • Policy making
  • Sustainable development
  • Europe,-Asia-China collaboration
  • International business
  • Infrastructures management
  • One Belt One Road
  • Smart transportation
  • Smart cities
  • Big data
  • Analytics

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Latin America and the Caribbean
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2297; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082297 - 17 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
During the initial implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda), the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was held in Santiago, Chile, in January 2018. During this [...] Read more.
During the initial implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (the 2030 Agenda), the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) was held in Santiago, Chile, in January 2018. During this forum, China officially invited 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This study links three important global governance issues: The 2030 Agenda, China-LAC relations and BRI. The authors attempt to analyze how China’s BRI in the LAC region can learn from the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations with 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). This study shows that although China and the LAC region have strong political, economic and trade relationships, they must deepen dialogues and cooperation on sustainable development, especially the 2030 Agenda with 17 SDGs, which can be inspirations for China’s BRI in this region. BRI, which aligns with the 2030 Agenda and contributes to Chinese experience in development, can generate new opportunities for the LAC region to implement such an agenda. However, the challenges and risks of BRI cannot be ignored, and adequate answers and solutions should be provided to allow BRI to achieve a win–win outcome for China and LAC countries. The authors also examine the alignment of China’s policies towards LAC and BRI with the 2030 Agenda (17 SDGs) and the involvement of each SDG in these policies as the 2030 Agenda (17 SDGs) should be considered in policy-making for China’s BRI in the LAC region. Moreover, on the basis of previous analyses, suggestions for a successful BRI in the LAC region in six sectors are proposed in the context the 2030 Agenda. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Big Data Analysis of Political Risks along the Belt and Road
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2216; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082216 - 12 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
As many regions along the Belt and Road have long been struggling with terrorist attacks, crimes, wars, and corruption, political risks pose important challenges for infrastructure projects and transnational investment. The objective of the article is to contribute to the identification of different [...] Read more.
As many regions along the Belt and Road have long been struggling with terrorist attacks, crimes, wars, and corruption, political risks pose important challenges for infrastructure projects and transnational investment. The objective of the article is to contribute to the identification of different types of political risks along the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and the visualization of their micro-level spatial distribution based on the Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT) datasets from October 2013 to May 2018. By adopting the bivariate Moran’s I model to compare the distribution of political risks along the Belt and Road and that of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) investment and construction projects based on data from the China Global Investment Tracker (CGIT), the article also generates an overall political risk profile for Chinese BRI projects. Our findings show that a particularly high percentage of Chinese BRI projects are distributed in regions with high political risks. This research has important implications for the discussion and study of the BRI. First, by combining geographic spatial statistical analysis and political science conceptual frameworks, we point out the necessity to query the BRI from interdisciplinary perspectives grounded in empirical research. Second, the research delivers to researchers, academics, practitioners, consultants and policy makers interested in the BRI the latest insights into the risks and challenges along the Belt and Road. Third, it advocates policies and strategies conducive to identifying, assessing and mitigating political risks in investment along the Belt and Road and to strengthening the sustainable development of the BRI. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Belt and Road Initiative and Railway Sector Efficiency—Application of Networked Benchmarking Analysis
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2070; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072070 - 08 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
In recent years, there has been a lot of attention paid to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to invest in better connecting China, South-East Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. As countries that share the same continent, and [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been a lot of attention paid to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to invest in better connecting China, South-East Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. As countries that share the same continent, and are in many cases without proper sea connection (landlocked), the key mode of long-distance transportation is railways. However, numerous countries have different levels of past investments, labor productivity, transportation profile, and culture surrounding railways, and all of this leads to differences in overall efficiency. In this research, we apply well established and widely used data envelopment analysis (DEA) to evaluate the longitudinal efficiency of railway operations. This is the first time such an analysis is completed on the Belt and Road member countries. Efficiency itself hardly improved at all during the examination period, whether in passenger and freight or just freight transports. China itself represents an important benchmark for many countries, as its efficiency is all the time highest possible. In the network benchmarking analysis, it was shown that China, Estonia, Latvia, and Israel are often proposed benchmarks for the others to increase their efficiency in the future. From efficiency development perspective, Chinese railway sector is beneficial and more balanced to be benchmarked as compared to other significantly sized railway countries, like India or Russia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investment Strategy of Chinese Terminal Operators along the “21st-Century Maritime Silk Road”
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2066; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072066 - 07 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
After the the Belt and Road initiative launched in 2013, Chinese terminal operators invested in ports situated along the “21st- century Maritime Silk Road (MSR)”. Identifying which ports are important is made possible through applying complex network methods and GIS analysis. This paper [...] Read more.
After the the Belt and Road initiative launched in 2013, Chinese terminal operators invested in ports situated along the “21st- century Maritime Silk Road (MSR)”. Identifying which ports are important is made possible through applying complex network methods and GIS analysis. This paper thus identifies strategic hub ports and investment strategies along the MSR. Our main conclusions are as follows. (1) In 2017, the ports with the greatest contact with China were located in the Southeast Asian and European shipping areas. (2) The overseas invested terminals of Chinese terminal operators are mainly concentrated in European and the Mediterranean Sea. Although the connection between China and Southeast Asia is strengthening, terminal operations in Southeast Asia did not expand significantly in the past 12 years. (3) The ports of Singapore, Kelang, Manila (Asia), Rotterdam, Hamburg (Europe), Suez and Port Said (Mediterranean and Red Sea), Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney (Oceania) are the ports of major concern for current and future investment by Chinese terminal operators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Addressing the Insufficiencies of the Traditional Development Aid Model by Utilizing the One Belt, One Road Initiative to Sustain Development in Afghanistan
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020312 - 09 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper investigated the use of the One Belt One Road initiative (BRI) as a policy model that might address the insufficiencies of the traditional development aid model in reconstructing and developing Afghanistan. Afghanistan has emerged as one of the world’s most fragile [...] Read more.
This paper investigated the use of the One Belt One Road initiative (BRI) as a policy model that might address the insufficiencies of the traditional development aid model in reconstructing and developing Afghanistan. Afghanistan has emerged as one of the world’s most fragile and conflict-affected countries, and it has gained the attention of both academic and political communities since the early 2000s. The materials for this article are based partly on a thorough analysis of the available documentation. The authors also conducted interviews with high-ranking political elites and policy officials in the Afghan government and international organizations. The study employed a purposive sampling method to identify people with firsthand information on how to sustain economic development in Afghanistan. This paper provides new insights by comparing the traditional development aid model and the BRI in terms of social economy, local security and regional economic development. The aim of this research is to evaluate whether the BRI can remedy the insufficiencies of the traditional development aid model in order to sustain development in Afghanistan. The findings provide a better understanding of the BRI in promoting the internal dynamism required to develop the regional economy, and fill a gap in the literature with regard to the applied and theoretical economic growth models for stabilizing and sustaining the development of fragile and conflict-affected states. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
China’s Outward FDI in Indonesia: Spatial Patterns and Determinants
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4632; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124632 - 06 Dec 2018
Abstract
China has gradually become an important world investor with the implementations of its “Going Global” and “Belt and Road” strategy initiatives. Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic country, and has the largest economy of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Therefore, Indonesia [...] Read more.
China has gradually become an important world investor with the implementations of its “Going Global” and “Belt and Road” strategy initiatives. Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic country, and has the largest economy of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Therefore, Indonesia is an important node for China’s implementation of its “Belt and Road” initiative. However, the existing research results regarding China’s OFDI (Outward Foreign Direct Investment) in Indonesia have indicated that little focus has been placed on the distribution patterns and determinants at the provincial levels. In this study, spatial analysis and mathematical statistics methods were used to analyze the temporal and spatial pattern evolution characteristics of China’s OFDI in Indonesia for the period ranging from 2006 to 2016. Also, the mechanism of the pattern evolution was quantitatively identified. The results obtained in this research study indicated the following: (1) China’s OFDI in Indonesia was observed to be characterized by fluctuations in investment amounts and rising numbers of investment projects, also, the investment amounts and number of projects were spatially dispersed; (2) the overall spatial evolution of China’s OFDI in Indonesia was found to be characterized by certain patterns, such as “west higher than the east, and south higher than the north” patterns. Moreover, the direction of the investment gravity center was determined to be obviously distinct during different periods; (3) high-level investments were found to be focused in only a few provinces, meanwhile, the majority of the provinces continued to be in a low-level stable state of investment from China; (4) this study’s OLS (Ordinary Least Square) regression and step-wise regression models revealed that institutional factors, political relations, and human resources were the most important factors which had affected China’s OFDI in Indonesia during the study period. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Is Transportation Infrastructure Important to the One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative? Empirical Evidence from the Selected Asian Countries
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4131; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114131 - 10 Nov 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative is implemented to improve the linkage between China and its neighboring countries in terms of economic ties, connectivity, partnership, and security cooperation. The crucial challenge encountered in OBOR initiative is the different gauge standards from different [...] Read more.
The One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative is implemented to improve the linkage between China and its neighboring countries in terms of economic ties, connectivity, partnership, and security cooperation. The crucial challenge encountered in OBOR initiative is the different gauge standards from different countries in the development of railway along the Silk Road. Another issue arose from the regulation of education sector in the aspect of quality, cost, and efficiency. To the best of our knowledge, there is still lack of study on the transportation infrastructure and education towards the GDP in the selected Asian countries, especially for Central Asia. Therefore, this study aims to examine the impact of OBOR initiative and its importance towards economic growth by further investigating the determinants such as transportation infrastructure, education, labor, trade, and inflation rate. This study employs panel data analysis using the annual data from the period of 2000–2015. The selected Asian countries are divided into three regions, namely Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan), ASEAN (Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia), and East Asia (China, Mongolia). Besides, we use fixed effect model (FEM) to obtain the results based on the support of Hausman test and Poolability F-test. The findings reveal that transportation infrastructure possess a positive effect on GDP. Surprisingly, education is negatively related to GDP. With this, policy makers are suggested to encourage OBOR countries to expand and upgrade their system in terms of transportation infrastructure, human capital, culture, and education. In future studies, the advanced model is recommended to investigate the pre- and post-efficiency of OBOR initiative. Full article
Open AccessArticle
OFDI Agglomeration and Chinese Firm Location Decisions under the “Belt and Road” Initiative
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4060; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114060 - 06 Nov 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
This paper established a combined dataset from 2004 to 2015 for 129 host countries and matched them with 1193 Outward Foreign Direct Investment (OFDI) events by Chinese listed firms. Four variables were designed to proxy the agglomeration effects of Chinese OFDI at both [...] Read more.
This paper established a combined dataset from 2004 to 2015 for 129 host countries and matched them with 1193 Outward Foreign Direct Investment (OFDI) events by Chinese listed firms. Four variables were designed to proxy the agglomeration effects of Chinese OFDI at both an industry and country level. Probit and FGLS estimation methods were used to analyze whether the Chinese listed firm location choices were affected by the agglomeration level. It was found that the agglomeration effect of Chinese OFDI on host country selection was obvious, as Chinese firms were often found to follow other Chinese firms and invest in host countries where Chinese investment was concentrated; however, it was also found that Chinese firms did not choose countries where there was a high concentration of non-Chinese FDI. The agglomeration effect on Chinese OFDI industry selection was also significant. Firms were found to invest in industries that already had large Chines OFDI agglomeration or high host-country industrial agglomeration. Further investigations found that the “Belt and Road” Initiative (BRI) was effective in guiding location decisions. Firms were found to invest more along the “Belt and Road” route after the BRI was launched; however, large State-owned listed firms with higher leverage but lower productivity and profitability were found to more often invest along the BRI routes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Survey of Techniques for Constructing Chinese Knowledge Graphs and Their Applications
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3245; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093245 - 11 Sep 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
With the continuous development of intelligent technologies, knowledge graph, the backbone of artificial intelligence, has attracted much attention from both academic and industrial communities due to its powerful capability of knowledge representation and reasoning. In recent years, knowledge graph has been widely applied [...] Read more.
With the continuous development of intelligent technologies, knowledge graph, the backbone of artificial intelligence, has attracted much attention from both academic and industrial communities due to its powerful capability of knowledge representation and reasoning. In recent years, knowledge graph has been widely applied in different kinds of applications, such as semantic search, question answering, knowledge management and so on. Techniques for building Chinese knowledge graphs are also developing rapidly and different Chinese knowledge graphs have been constructed to support various applications. Under the background of the “One Belt One Road (OBOR)” initiative, cooperating with the countries along OBOR on studying knowledge graph techniques and applications will greatly promote the development of artificial intelligence. At the same time, the accumulated experience of China in developing knowledge graphs is also a good reference to develop non-English knowledge graphs. In this paper, we aim to introduce the techniques of constructing Chinese knowledge graphs and their applications, as well as analyse the impact of knowledge graph on OBOR. We first describe the background of OBOR, and then introduce the concept and development history of knowledge graph and typical Chinese knowledge graphs. Afterwards, we present the details of techniques for constructing Chinese knowledge graphs, and demonstrate several applications of Chinese knowledge graphs. Finally, we list some examples to explain the potential impacts of knowledge graph on OBOR. Full article
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Open AccessConcept Paper
China’s Belt and Road Initiative: A Global Model for an Evolving Approach to Sustainable Regional Development
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4234; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114234 - 16 Nov 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a cornucopia of international projects that offer mammoth opportunities for more economic cooperation and deeper regional integration primarily among emerging economies. BRI is providing new drivers of sustainable economic growth in China and of cross-border trade, [...] Read more.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a cornucopia of international projects that offer mammoth opportunities for more economic cooperation and deeper regional integration primarily among emerging economies. BRI is providing new drivers of sustainable economic growth in China and of cross-border trade, along with the reimagined land and “Maritime Silk Road”. The initiative focuses on restoring global balance and on expanding universally beneficial and inclusive relationships. This article argues that the forces of globalization are so pivotal to Eurasia, where development opportunities can propel the region toward a more comprehensive socioeconomic integration, that governments in that region need to provide more support that ensures the continuing success of BRI. In essence, BRI is a critical tool for peaceful development that is resulting in massive investments in infrastructure, that is facilitating economic development, and that is promoting shared governance. This article provides theoretical perspectives on BRI as a beachhead for sustainable regional development. It also highlights BRI programs and projects that have emerged as an internal and external policy framework for an openly inclusive “win–win” cooperation model based on shared development and on communities of shared interests. Full article
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