China's growing influence in Nepal: A ground report

Signboards in Thamel, Kathmandu's business area, are either in English or Chinese. Photograph:( WION )

WION Kathmandu, Nepal May 09, 2018, 10.18 PM (IST) Siddhant Sibal

Just walk around the bazaars of Kathmandu and one can't miss noticing China's omnipresence all across the city. From sign boards to Chinese tourists to businesses to hotels. Go to shops and you will find the Chinese owning many of them. Chinese currency changers are everywhere. Signboards in Thamel, Kathmandu's business area, are either in English or Chinese. Even the beer shops in Kathmandu have Chinese names.

China has quietly flooded Kathmandu, at first slowly, now in a rapid way.

Tourism, which forms an essential part of Nepal's economy, has a major Chinese role today. China is the second- largest source of foreign tourists to Nepal. Over 100,000 Chinese tourists visit Nepal annually. 

Many shopkeepers confirmed to us that China is here to stay.

But what best way to know about Chinese tourists than to go through a tourist guide which, interestingly, had more than 80 per cent of the signs in Chinese. The government of Nepal has waived visa fees for the Chinese tourists effective from January 1, 2016.

So what is making China-Nepal ties stronger? Yubaraj Ghimire a Nepali journalist believes China-Nepal ties haven't been impacted by any issues. There has been no misunderstanding, the boundary issue between the two countries was solved, China advised the Nepalese that it cannot substitute India and it also respects Nepal's sovereignty.

During the low period of India-Nepal Ties, China was making rapid progess. In recent years, China has emerged as one of the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) contributors to Nepal, as economic engagement between the world's second-largest economy and the Himalayan country grows.