China is moving forward with a variety of investment and infrastructure projects in Central Asia designed to boost exports to the region and beyond.
In Uzbekistan, Chinese executives are seeking to tighten their grip on the electric vehicle (EV) market. The Chinese firm Henan Suda signed a deal earlier in December with Uzbekistan’s Energy Ministry to build upwards of 50,000 EV charging stations around the country by 2033. Already in 2024, 2,500 charging stations are to be constructed. The project is projected to serve about 700,000 EVs when fully built-out. During the first 10 months of 2023, China exported over 20,000 electric vehicles to Uzbekistan.
Elsewhere, the Kyrgyz government has signed off on a $700-mn project to build a trade hub in Kyrgyzstan’s Chui region. The project, to be overseen by an entity called Kyrgyz-Chinese Investment Holding Co., is envisioned as including a trade complex, exhibition centre, warehouses and bonded trade zones, as well as housing and hotels.
In a separate development, Bakyt Torobaev, the deputy chair of Kyrgyzstan’s cabinet, announced that a new border checkpoint along the Chinese frontier, called Bedel, is to be built in 2024, as well as a four-lane bridge at the existing Irkeshtam border checkpoint, the Sputnik outlet reports.
Meanwhile, in Kazakhstan, a Chinese company, Gezhouba Group Cement Co, has signed an agreement worth $220mn to build a cement plant in the Almaty region. In addition, China is mulling a 110mn-euro investment in a major hospital project.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering a similar investment in the project, the Kursiv media outlet reports. The planned hospital would have 630 beds and be situated in Kokshetau, a regional centre in northern Kazakhstan. The total cost of construction is estimated to be €467mn.
This article first appeared on Eurasianet here.