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Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Voting rights reflect Beijing's leading role in AIIB

China will be an influential player in the new infrastructure bank, with the power to have deciding voice on key matters, analysts say

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 June, 2015, 1:20am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 June, 2015, 8:52am

The decision-making structure of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank reflects the leading role that Beijing will play in the newly launched multinational institution, analysts say.

Beijing holds a 30.34 per cent stake in the bank as it contributed US$29.78 billion of the institution's initial capital. It will also have 26.06 per cent of the voting rights, giving it effective veto power, as the bank's major decisions will require the support of at least 75 per cent of the votes.

"It means China has a lot of say in the AIIB's decision-making. Of course, that comes with a price tag to match," said Hong Hao, chief economist and managing director of investment bank Bocom International.

Zhao Changhui, an economist with the Import-Export Bank of China, said: "The power structure suggests that China will play a leading role in the bank as it is reflected in China's large stake, its single largest voting rights, and the formation of the bank's decision-making bodies."

But many expect Beijing to hold back on exercising its veto power.

The articles of agreement of the bank signed by 50 of the 57 founding nations in Beijing yesterday said only major decisions would need to be approved by 75 per cent of the votes.

Other matters, including project approvals, would be decided by a majority of votes cast, the agreement said.

The board of directors, comprising nine members from Asia and three from outside the region, will lead the new bank's operations.

The bank's interim head, Jin Liqun , is a former Chinese deputy finance minister who is also tipped to be the development bank's first president.

Shen Jianguang, chief economist at Mizuho Securities, said the share and voting structure indicated China would be an influential player in the bank. "The United States set an example with the International Monetary Fund, [and] China is determined to keep its leading role in the AIIB," he said.

"[It wants] to gain global credibility as a new, green, clean and efficient global lending organisation that is led by a developing country."

Beijing-based political economist Laurence Brahm said the multilateral financial institution established by already emerged developing nations - with China and India leading the pack - was a long-awaited step.

Brahm said the AIIB represented the emergence of a new "South-South financial order" that reflected the pragmatism of nations that had made the transition to development.

He said Beijing had learned from Washington's domination of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and was applying lessons on its own, creating its own financial structure with India.

"Its voting is commensurate with its financial contribution," Brahm said.

China has vowed to subject the bank to the highest management standards.

But Kamel Mellahi, professor of strategic management at the University of Warwick in Britain, said the spotlight was now on China and how it would manage such a complex multilateral organisation.