The end of World War II marked a time of change and rebuilding, with a new political and economic order.

It saw the creation of the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, or IMF - institutions dominated then, and since, by the economic powers of the day, namely the United States and Europe.

China has been challenging that pecking order, as it emerged as the world's second biggest economy, and it's now backing a new development bank.

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will be based in Beijing. And Europe's biggest economies are among nations defying the US to become founding members. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news conference: "China hopes that all relevant countries will work together to build AIIB and realise a win-win, professional, and highly efficient infrastructural investment platform".

Anti-corruption groups remain critical of Chinese lending practices, and say the new bank could undercut efforts by the World Bank and IMF to link loans to demands for good governance.

So, is the Asian Bank a strategic alternative to the Western-backed financial institutions?

Or part of a bigger strategy to re-shape the global balance of power?

Presenter: Adrian Finighan

Guests:

Pauline Loong - Political economist and managing director of research consultancy firm Asia-Analytica.

Andrew Hilton - Director of the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation and a former economist at the World Bank.

Ann Lee - Professor of economics and finance at New York University.

Source: Al Jazeera