Golden opportunities

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Central Asia provides much needed fuel for China’s economic engine, but holding on to this valuable regional relationship remains the challenge, writes Richard Li

Central Asia was historically a through road for Chinese merchants on the silk route to trade their precious silks and exotic cargoes in Europe and Arabia. Times change. Now Chinese business interests are firmly fixed on the region as a terminus for investment in much sought after natural resources, rather than a conduit to some other destination.

But many of the region’s developing nations, far from welcoming just any investment, are increasingly picking and choosing. New legislation in some countries is creating investment headaches, while elsewhere the laws are fast tracks to profit.

Competitors like Korea are also teaching countries how to become end processors of their own raw materials, a wake-up call for Chinese companies and their investment strategies.

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