WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Many countries believe that having strong infrastructure helps their economies grow and thrive, and China is out investing everyone.
The Chinese government plans to expand the country’s high-speed rail network to 18,600 miles by 2020, part of public infrastructure spending aimed at shoring up economic growth.
Speaking at a briefing earlier this week Vice Transport Minister Yang Yudong said that overall China plans to invest over $500 billion in constructing new railways between now and 2020 in order to connect over 80% of all its major cities to the network and it’s planned that this latest initiative will add an extra 9,000 miles of high speed track to a network which already covers over 12,000 miles.
The plans call for the renovation of expressways and faster construction of railways to serve less well developed regions in central and western China in the hope that it will boost economic growth as China experiences it’s sixth consecutive year of slow growth as it tries to move itself away from a manufacturing economy to more of a services led economy so the new announcement comes hot on the heels of other big investments in infrastructure and public works. It’s also a technology that the Chinese are keen to export – for example to the UK, and other countries who are also bolstering their own high speed rail networks.
Last Wednesday, China began operating a new high-speed rail line linking the financial hub of Shanghai in the east with Kunming, the capital of southwestern Yunnan province, a poorer region which spans 1,400 miles across five provinces, cutting travel time to just 11 hours, down from 35 hours.