With 68 countries and international organizations signed up to and participating in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Chinese business community is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy. The number of Chinese-owned businesses within the top 50 of the Fortune Global 500 list has tripled from four in 2012 to 12 in 2017. With a sample of 24 out of the top 25 market capitalization Malaysian construction sector listed companies from 2012 to 2017, the random effects panel data regression model (REM) is applied. Results reveal that only the percentage of Chinese equity ownership (COWN) and the percentage of Chinese directors on corporate boards (CDIR) have significant relationships with companies’ profitability measure of return on assets (ROA). Chinese CEOs (CCEO) can only improve a company's profitability after two years at the top of the management team. One of the main implications of this research is that COWN and CDIR should not be restricted by the government and indigenous protectionist groups because Chinese equity owners and directors can capitalize on their multi-lingual capabilities to build closer interpersonal ties and networking ("guanxi") with business partners from China and other BRI countries.