China has invested billions of dollars in expanding its international port and shipping network. Not unlike the U.K. 200 years ago in its exporting to other areas of Empire, China is expanding as a maritime power; particularly in terms of port and shipping assets, naval power, and independence.
Securing shipping lanes are an important part of China’s ambitions in developing up their One Belt, One Road project. Under the idea of rejuvenation of the original Chinese Silk Road trade routes, the project aims to link parts of China that are difficult to reach, – like western and central regions – with rail links through the northwestern province of Xinjiang to Eastern, Central, and even Western Europe. As well, China has sought to develop a Maritime Silk Road, an initiative that will link African and Middle Eastern countries through Asia, with a view to supporting regional economic development.
China's investments in the One Belt, One Road and Maritime Silk Road initiatives are about spreading money around, by investing in infrastructure projects around the world; in particular any region that has the potential for consumer demand in the future. People spending more will need infrastructure in their country. This includes investment in ports, shipping, and terminals.