Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been approached by as many as 20 additional prospective members, according to its new leader.
Jin Liqun, president-designate of AIIB, also said over the weekend that the new bank aims to begin funding its first projects as soon as six months from now, the Wall Street Journal reported.
AIIB will invest in core infrastructure projects such as railroads and power, but will retain the option to broaden its portfolio into associated investments such as environmental investments, he said.
“Some projects are quite ready,” Jin was quoted as saying at a conference on Saturday.
He assured that the new bank wouldn’t select projects to favor Chinese companies and that it wouldn’t act as “China’s bank”.
AIIB was launched in June with representatives of 57 countries present, 50 of whom formally signed up on the day.
The Beijing-based bank is one of several projects that President Xi Jinping has unveiled recently in a bid to expand China’s influence and financial clout in Southeast and Central Asia.
Jin, who was named as interim leader of the AIIB last month, is a Chinese national and former vice finance minister of that country.
Asked whether the bank might have an institutional bias toward Chinese companies, or against companies and individuals from countries that haven’t joined such as Japan and the US, Jin said such rumors were unfounded.
“China is the major shareholder. But this does not mean that this is China’s bank,” he said.
“The bank practices universal procurement and universal recruitment,” and wouldn’t favor Chinese companies, Jin said.
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