BEIJING: Military company Blackwater's founder said the company plans to build new bases in China, a move to support the One Belt and One Road initiative.
Frontier Services Group (FSG), a company that helps businesses operating in frontier markets to overcome complex security, logistics and operational challenges, plans to build two operational bases in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Southwest China's Yunnan Province, Erik Prince, executive chairman of the firm, told the Chinese Tabloid “Global Times”.
Prince, famous as the founder of the private military company Blackwater, renamed Academi, provides executive security services and specialized training. It is reported that the over 5,000 Blackwater employees were working in nine countries at the company's peak. But Blackwater changed its name and sold itself to other investors in 2010 due to its involvement in the Iraq War.
About the new operation in China, Prince told the Global Times that "in late 2016, FSG expanded its geographic focus from purely Africa to include the Northwest and Southwest corridors of the One Belt and One Road initiative." The Northwest corridor includes the countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Southwest corridor includes Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia," he added that "the planned new facility in China's Yunnan Province will allow FSG to be able to better serve companies in the Southwest corridor. Subsequently, FSG will open a training facility in Xinjiang to serve businesses in the Northwest corridor."
Wang Dawei, spokesperson of FSG, told the Global Times that the Yunnan base will be operating this year while the one in Xinjiang is projected to start operation in 2018.
FSG's main service is to provide Chinese customers logistical support to get in and out of African danger zones, Prince told Bloomberg in 2015.
"Africa is an important destination for Chinese investment ... We believe our team's local knowledge will greatly benefit Chinese clients," said Prince.
Chinese companies desperately need overseas protection services, Li Jiang, director of the international affairs department in the China Security and Protection Group, told the Global Times, adding that Chinese security service companies lack advanced management theories.