BEIJING A China-led effort to launch the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has attracted the interest of 21 countries, Beijing's Ministry of Finance said on Sunday.
Representatives from South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore participated in meetings held on Saturday in the Chinese capital to discuss the plan.
The meetings were chaired by Chinese Deputy Finance Minister Shi Yaobin, the ministry said in an article posted on its website. Jin Liqun, a former deputy finance minister and former Asian Development Bank vice president, headed China's preparation team.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a crucial part of Beijing's efforts to extend its influence in the region, analysts say. China also has chafed at its limited voice at other multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank.
Other countries that participated in earlier meetings include Australia, India and the Philippines.
Chinese President Xi Jinping first raised the idea of establishing the infrastructure bank last October. China would likely be the institution's largest shareholder, with a stake of as much as 50 percent.
Registered capital for the proposed bank would start at $50 billion, but may increase.
In July, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said that he welcomed a new multilateral infrastructure bank, saying there was a "massive need" for new investment in this area. [ID:nL4N0PJ2NS]
"The AIIB will mainly focus on infrastructure construction in Asia to promote regional connectivity and economic cooperation," Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said in a March statement.
Developing countries' infrastructure investment needs start at $1 trillion a year, Kim told reporters at the time, far in excess of private-sector investment of $150 billion.
(Reporting By Matthew Miller; Editing by Nick Macfie)