‘One Belt One Road’ from the perspective of standardization: The case of high-speed railways



Heejin Lee, Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University, Korea

Jooyoung Kwak, Yonsei Buisness School, Yonsei University, Korea  

The presenter, Heejin Lee is Professor at the Graduate School of International Studies, Yonsei University, Korea. He has a multidisciplinary background: BA in business administration and MA in sociology at Seoul National University, and PhD in information systems at LSE. Before Yonsei, he worked for the Department of Information Systems at the University of Melbourne, Australia and Brunel University, UK. He has written extensively on the impact of broadband, and ‘time and ICT’. He is currently working on ICT standardization policies in China and Korea, and ICT for development (ICT4D). He is the president of Korea Association of International Development and Cooperation.


China announced an ambitious plan ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) in 2013. It consists of the ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and the ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road’. OBOR is not just building logistics networks. From an ideological perspective, it is the national strategic vision to realize the ‘Chinese Dream’ which was promoted as a national slogan by Xi Jinping. From the perspective of national and international strategy, OBOR is a comprehensive framework for China’s development in the 21st century which covers international relations, national economic development and international development with focus on developing countries through which OBOR passes. The high-speed railway (HSR) is one of the pillars of OBOR.

An increasing number of researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including economics, politics, international relations, finance, development studies, to name a few, have been participating in the discourses on OBOR and, to a lesser degree, China’s high-speed railways. However, there is little research on HSR from the perspective of standards and standardization. 

OBOR and HSR can be utilized as a channel to promote Chinese standards in the regions and countries where OBOR and HSR pass. In fact, recently announced were policy agenda which tried to connect OBOR to the internationalization of Chinese standards in various areas. We examine China’s OBOR and high-speed railway systems from the viewpoint of standards and standardization.