New Map of the Belt and Road Initiative

The Belt and Road Research Platform, a joint initiative of the LeidenAsiaCentre and the Clingendael China Centre, has launched a new map of the Belt and Road Initiative. Click here for more information and to view the map on the Platform’s website.

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Although there are already plenty of maps which attempt to display the BRI, the Belt and Road Research Platform believes that there was a need for a novel approach: integrating the BRI into China’s international trade patterns. This approach stands out because of a few distinct features

First of all, whereas many maps simply display projects or hubs that label themselves as being part of the BRI, thismap focuses on what is actually important for China’s international trade. The “BRI” label has lost some of its significance, since many officials and project developers tend to use this label to increase the status of their projects, even though these projects might not come to full fruition or play a relatively minor role in Chinese international trade flows. Instead, this map displays only the hubs and corridors that are truly significant to the BRI. Combined with the representation of other focal points of Chinese international trade patterns, and an overview of China’s trade position with every country in the world (in different shades of green), it becomes clear what is really important to the BRI and to China’s international trade.

Secondly, the map has been designed in a way that allows viewers to see in one glance what the BRI is about. Through making a strict selection of hubs and trade flows, and by choosing visual clarity over the geographical representation of the corridors, the designers hope to have realized this aim.

Finally, in contrast to most other maps of the BRI, this latest approach displays the whole world. This reflects the Belt and Road Platform’s global approach to understanding the BRI. Furthermore, the BRI has currently also reached regions such as South America, which many maps overlook.

Feel free to use this map for non-commercial purposes and by respecting the references to the Belt and Road Research Platform.

The Belt and Road Research Platform ( is a joint initiative of the LeidenAsiaCentre and the Clingendael China Centre to improve the accessibility of open access academic information about the Belt and Road Initiative.