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China and Pakistan’s Belt and Road plan might not convince other investors

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A Chinese worker stands near trucks during the opening of a trade project at Pakistan's Gwadar port on November 13, 2016.

Aamir Qureshi | AFP | Getty Images

A Chinese worker stands near trucks during the opening of a trade project at Pakistan’s Gwadar port on November 13, 2016.

China is pouring an estimated $60 billion into Pakistan as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), but financial experts CNBC spoke to were uncertain how this would impact Islamabad’s profile as an investment destination.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), as this leg of China’s massive regional infrastructure spending push is known, will boost Pakistan in the eyes of investors, said Farrukh Khan, a specialist on the country’s economy.

“I would expect other foreign direct investment flows to increase as the CPEC projects near completion and resolve some of the infrastructure shortcomings in Pakistan, particularly energy,” he said via email.

But not everyone agrees. “Chinese activity in Pakistan is certainly raising Pakistan’s profile, but only in a narrow way,” Derek Scissors, an expert in the region at the American Enterprise Institute, told CNBC.

“International investors are attracted to improved infrastructure but they are less drawn by what Pakistan itself has accomplished and more by what China has done in Pakistan.”

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Founder of bottled water Nongfu Spring becomes China’s richest man

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Zhong Shanshan, the chairman of Nongfu Spring Company, attends the Nongfu Spring new product launch conference on February 1, 2015 in Baishan, Jilin Province of China.

Jiang Xin | VCG | Getty Images

BEIJING — Steady gains in the public offerings of two Chinese stocks this year have vaulted their controlling stakeholder to the top of China’s rich list.

As of Thursday, Nongfu Spring founder Zhong Shanshan had a paper net worth of $57.2 billion, topping Tencent’s Pony Ma and Alibaba founder Jack Ma, whose respective holdings were worth $56.3 billion and $50.4 billion, according to Forbes.

The paper gains also mean China’s wealthiest man now ranks 17th in the world, just below Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, according to Forbes’ real-time billionaire list.

Zhong owns 84.4% of the bottled water giant, which is up roughly 77% from its public offering on Sept. 8 in Hong Kong, when the company raised about $1.1 billion in one of the largest public offerings for the exchange so far this year.

Zhong also holds a controlling stake in Wantai Biological, a pharmaceutical firm that claims to be among the several Chinese companies developing a vaccine for Covid-19. Wantai is up more than 2,000% since its public offering on the Shanghai Stock Exchange in April.

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We don’t want to ‘reward an enemy’

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Europe gears up to another GDP contraction as coronavirus cases grow

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