Delegates from 57 countries have gathered in the Chinese capital, Beijing, for the signing ceremony of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) viewed by some as a rival to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

China will hold a 30.34 percent stake in the AIIB, the Finance Ministry said on Monday, making Beijing the largest shareholder in a bank that is expected to project the country's growing influence.

China will have 26.06 percent of the voting rights in the bank, a Chinese-led development bank that will rival global financial institutions controlled by the West.

Countries defined as "within the region" will hold a cominbed 75 percent stake in the bank's $100bn capital base, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

Australia became the first country to sign the document in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, an AFP journalist at the ceremony saw.

The United States and Japan - the world's largest and third-largest economies, respectively - notably have declined to join the Chinese-led bank that is expected to go into operation later this year.

Washington sought to dissuade its allies from taking part but European countries including Britain, France and Germany have rushed to sign up as they seek to bolster ties with the world's second-largest economy.

There are some concerns over transparency of the lender, which will fund infrastructure in Asia, as well as worries that Beijing will use it to push its own geopolitical and economic interests as a rising power.

Supporters of the bank say fears over undue Chinese influence are overblown, and that the participation by more than 50 countries, ranging from Australia to Vietnam, will dilute Beijing's power.

Source: Reuters And AFP