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Steering the Belt and Road’s Energy Mix: A Steering Theory Perspective on Chinese Energy Investments in Pakistan and Indonesia

Hannes Gohli
p. 69-79

Abstract

This article contributes to discussions on why Chinese investments in Pakistan cover a wide variety of energy sectors, whereas capital allocation in Indonesia is concentrated in a narrow set of actors and energy sources (coal). While others have highlighted micro-, macro-, and meso-level dimensions, this research looks at the Chinese Ministry of Commerce’s (MOFCOM) communication as a further factor to steer Chinese project financing. By exposing a set of 281 MOFCOM statements to quantitative and qualitative discourse analysis, my findings reveal that MOFCOM publications offer more incentives for private participation in Pakistan than in Indonesia, as represented by the greater number of actors and projects listed, as well as the types of public policy instruments deployed. Besides theoretical contributions to steering theory, the study offers practical suggestions on how China can diversify investments to create more sustainable energy outcomes along the Belt and Road.

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Editor’s notes

Manuscript received on 14 August 2023. Accepted on 11 June 2024.

Excerpt

Full text document will be published online on June 2025.

Outline

Introduction
The theoretical framework
Steering theory
Steering China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Material and methods
Results
Quantitative analysis of utterances
Qualitative analysis of policy tools
Discussion
Conclusion

First lines

Introduction

The 7th of September 2013 was a special day for Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan (Maçães 2019). From behind a delegation of officials, the audience watched China’s president Xi Jinping deliver a speech that introduced “an innovative approach to build an economic belt along the Silk Road”. The speech launched the initial component of a gigantic infrastructure plan that along with the “Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road” would later be known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) (Clarke 2017). Following Xi’s speech, it took the Chinese government two years to issue the “Vision and Actions on Jointly Building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road” (hereafter “Vision”), which has since become the Action Plan on the Belt and Road Initiative (Zhao et al. 2019: 133). The Vision, jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCO...

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References

Bibliographical reference

Hannes Gohli, Steering the Belt and Road’s Energy Mix: A Steering Theory Perspective on Chinese Energy Investments in Pakistan and IndonesiaChina Perspectives, 137 | 2024, 69-79.

Electronic reference

Hannes Gohli, Steering the Belt and Road’s Energy Mix: A Steering Theory Perspective on Chinese Energy Investments in Pakistan and IndonesiaChina Perspectives [Online], 137 | 2024, Online since 01 June 2025, connection on 21 July 2024. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/chinaperspectives/16915; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/11y7m

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About the author

Hannes Gohli

Hannes Gohli is a post-doctoral scholar in the Chair of China Business and Economics, University of Würzburg, Germany. Sinologie Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany (hannes.gohli@uni-wuerzburg.de).

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Copyright

The text and other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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