China’s One Belt, One Road initiative aims to build links across Asia to Europe, and many companies are excited by the partnership opportunities it will open up. But others wonder whether traditional physical trade routes will be so essential in a hi-tech future. Erika Morphy reports.

For certain types of business activities between Chinese digital advertising companies and foreign partners in key trading countries, the cumbersome joint venture model is no longer necessary. Instead, there are harmonised rules governing the collaboration between partners, making it easy to form most types of business relationships outside of an outright acquisition.

For this easing of paperwork and process, Humphrey Ho, a managing director at Hylink, one of China’s largest digital agencies, credits China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, or OBOR, as it is often called.

Thanks to OBOR, he says, Hylink was able to form a partnership with one of Russia’s largest advertising agencies, AVV. “It was one of the first instances of a digital services company making a connection because of the Silk Road,” says Mr Ho.

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