Arthur Lee

He is part of the management team  of an energy company based in Hong Kong. In 2015 its parent company invested in an energy company in South East Asia. 

From his view,  the BRI gives all Chinese companies more possibilities for growth. He cites two key reasons for this optimism: first the sheer scale of the BRI geographical area; and secondly the Chinese government support that companies can receive when they look to invest makes a success of BRI more possible. 

Pre-BRI he suggests that when Chinese companies were looking to expand overseas they might face significant barriers such as finding financing to underwrite their growth strategies. He says: "Now with BRI the banks are now more understanding of the markets. They are prepared to look at countries along the BRI and are prepared to make their corporate clients make the necessary investments."

"Having rules which would allow, for instance, the free flow of foreign currency and the free movement of people along the BRI would maximise trading benefits."

He is an advocate of the advantages that BRI will bring in terms of free trade across borders. The manufacturing sector, trading entities and support services – such as professional accountancy firms, lawyers, bankers and company secretaries – all could benefit from the new projects that BRI would usher in. 

At the same time he suggests that to realise the full benefits of BRI it would make sense to look at the introduction of common rules and regulations to lower the barriers to open markets. He says: "Having rules which would allow, for instance, the free flow of foreign currency and the free movement of people along the BRI would maximise trading benefits."

Common trade standards would give companies greater certainty on what is required along the length of BRI. Arthur Lee says: "We need common standards on how we measure for example accounting rules. Even with IFRS compliance there are minor differences in the national accounting languages." Remove those variations and it would be possible to see open accounting software in use all along the BRI.  

He also points to securities regulations which could be improved. "If one company is listed on a security market in one country how can it be made easier or possible to achieve listing in another?" He would like to see more streamlined procedures and methods for listings. "It would be really helpful if more common rules can be established along the BRI."

Accounting professionals are central to the BRI process, according to Arthur Lee. "Whether you are a Chinese company expanding overseas or a Pakistani company wanting to invest into China, every one of them needs finance professionals because accountants help enterprises talk in a common language."

That is why Arthur Lee believes that ACCA has a big, central role to play in the development of the BRI. "We [ACCA] have a membership throughout the BRI and we can help to develop that common language which is so necessary to BRI's development. We can help build capacity and contribute to the thinking that will determine BRI’s success."