The Digital Silk Road:

The Potential of a New Digital Order and its Security Implications

by Aristea Tsamadias


Beijing has taken a proactive approach to influence global technology among countries participating in its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Through economic and technical convergence, the Digital Silk Road (DSR) contributes to Beijing’s total internationalization and power projection. Chinese corporations have started to spread their information and communications technology (ICT) ecosystem within and beyond Digital Silk Road countries. China’s plan was expressed in a government issued 2015 White Paper that involves projecting both hard and soft power in order to increase China’s attractiveness and overseas influence.

This article explores how China is exporting its authoritarian system abroad through its infrastructure investments in the digital domain by analyzing the main technological investments in foreign countries in physical infrastructure, network capabilities, fintech and space. In this context, western powers should adopt a coherent and decisive plan in order to minimize security challenges and maintain their technological edge.


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Picture: One-belt-one-road.svg by Lommes is marked with CC BY-SA 4.0.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Institute of International Relations or its members.

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