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OPINION

China: AIIB’s clouded outlook

Beijing's pollution a problem for staff moves.



scooter mask pollution asia-600


The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has a lot going for it. The world’s newest and most interesting multilateral, it is seen as China’s answer to the Asian Development Bank, which, for all its developing-Asia mandate, is seen in China as a Japanese and US policy tool. 

AIIB has state backing to the highest levels of the Chinese government, the promise of exceptional resources and a bold infrastructure-led plan.

But it also has a problem: persuading top staff to move to Beijing. 

Word reaches Euromoney that efforts to recruit at the highest level are being thwarted by Beijing’s increasingly unspeakable pollution. On the Air Quality Index, which considers any score over 100 to be polluted and anything above 300 to be outright hazardous, Beijing has frequently topped 600. 

It is quite a turnaround that the Asian Development Bank should be considered the bigger draw in terms of lifestyle. For years, its location in the Mandaluyong City section of Manila was considered a barrier to attracting top talent that was usually happier in Hong Kong and Singapore. These days, in the multilateral hiring community, it’s a relative plus. Who saw that coming?

Oddly, help is at hand from the ADB itself, which in December approved a $500 million loan to fund pollution reduction around Beijing.