AIIB formally opens in Beijing

The $100bn multilateral lender is looking to make its first investment by the middle of the year.

The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has been formally established and is expected to start operation early next year, according to Xinhua, China's official news agency.

With an authorised capital of $100 billion, AIIB will target sectors including infrastructure, energy, transportation, urban construction, water supply and logistics, as well as education and healthcare. Its investments are intended to support China’s One-Belt-One-Road initiative, the agency said.

“The bank will offer an innovative financing platform tailored to Asia’s infrastructure financing needs today, and those of future generations,” Jin Liquin, AIIB’s president-designate Jin Liqun, added in a statement.

The bank is expected to offer loans to the first batch of projects in mid-2016 with an initial focus on financing power, transportation, and urban infrastructure projects across Asia. It also said that it is considering taking equity positions. 

AIIB is currently recruiting industry specialists to cover the sectors it targets, according to its website. 

Jin said the bank will take account of Asia’s rising energy demands and the battle against climate change when deciding whether to finance coal-fired and nuclear power projects. The bank aims to back projects that are “financially, environmentally and socially sustainable”, he said. 

He also stressed that the bank will be “lean, clean and green”, with a three-tier structure that gives “zero tolerance” to corruption. 

The inaugural meeting of AIIB's board of governors will be held on 16 and 17 January. The body will then announce the commencement of operations as well as formally elect the board of directors and its president.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the launch of AIIB in October 2013. It has since been recognised as a diplomatic success with the participation of 57 member countries. Despite vocal reservations from Washington over the concept, these include several US allies

China, India and Russia are AIIB's three largest shareholders with a 30.34 percent, 8.52 percent and 6.66 percent stake respectively.