The China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has been established end December as a potential rival to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank – expected to be operational already in early 2016, Xinhua news agency reported.

The bank came into existence after 17 funding members signed respective agreements, within merely two years from the date Chinese President, Xi Jinping proposed such a multilateral financing body to emerge.

According to Reuters, it is seen as Beijing’s major foreign policy success. Despite US opposition, American allies – such as Australia, Britain, Germany, Italy, the Philippines, and South Korea – have joined the global financial institution among 57 developed and developing nations as its prospective founding members.

The AIIB is seen also as a potential rival to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. It is expected to lend between $10b and $15b a year in its initial period of operation, AIIB’s President-elect, Jin Liqun said to news agencies. AIIB will hand out loans from mid 2016, according to Jin, adding that the bank will keep in close contact with other multilateral and bilateral development organizations.

The bank will initially invest in energy, infrastructure, transportation, urban construction, water supply, and logistics as well as education and health care, Xinhua informed.