HKUST IEMS Thought Leadership Briefs No. 50
Chinese investments in construction sector in the mainland Southeast Asia demonstrate lower degree of employment localization than in Africa. BRI projects in the region rely on an overwhelmingly Chinese workforce for implementation. This pattern is shaped by BRI’s unsustainable financial mechanism. The Chinese state’s lending practices, often divorced from host countries’ de facto fiscal capacities, result in difficulties to channel planned credit flows into BRI projects. Top-down financial instabilities shape (sub-) contractors’ labour recruitment processes.Chinese workers, who are more amenable to exploitation in the form of deferred or even denied wages, are often brought in to substitute for less pliable local counterparts.
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