"China is now a leader of the world," Sri Mulyani Indrawati, managing director of the World Bank, told CNBC on Sunday in Beijing.
"They (Chinese leaders) try to show that they have sound principles in not only presenting a development solution, but also in establishing this new institution and that is why many of the countries now are becoming members of this institution."
Jim McCaughan, CEO of Principal Global Investors, said that China's move was part of a bid to establish the yuan as a global currency—and that the U.S. might be more positive towards the AIIB then its official statements suggested.
"I think Washington will collaborate; I do not think it will officially join, but I think they will collaborate, at least behind the scenes," McCaughan told CNBC early on Monday, adding that the bank was part of a "bigger picture."
"Ultimately, Chinese economic policymakers, I believe, are pushing towards the idea of the renminbi as a reserve currency… this is one small step in that direction, having a multilateral institution that they can lead," McCaughan said.
Chandler concurred. "Being recognized as a reserve currency and included in the SDR (Special Drawing Rights) basket would be a recognition of China's reform efforts and its increasing importance in the world economy. It would likely further enhance the internationalization of the yuan."
He added that some of Washington's concerns about the AIIB were valid.
"Leaving aside U.S. parochial concerns, which seem to be over the increase of China's influence, there are reasonable questions about the transparency and governance of the AIIB," Chandler said.
"It does not appear to be simply a development bank with China as a key shareholder. Rather than promote neo-liberal values, embodied in the Washington Consensus, the AIIB could encourage China's state capitalism model. The criteria for picking projects is also not clear."
Clarification: This story has been clarified to reflect that Sri Mulyani Indrawati, managing director of the World Bank, told CNBC that "China is now a leader of the world."