China to ‘double’ high-speed railway
By Andy Brown19 August 2020
According to reports, China State Railway Group will double the length of the nation’s high-speed-rail network to 70,000km by 2035.
As part of the outlined plans, all cities of more than 500,000 people will be linked through the project. China already has the world’s largest network of high-speed rail.
In the past China has used large scale infrastructure projects – such as high-speed rail – to provide a boost to the nation’s economy.
Even though China’s economy has not been as badly impacted as many others around the world due to Covid-19, growth for 2020 is only projected at 1%, which would be a steep drop from 2019’s 6.1%.
A large part of the expanded network would be funded by debt and the high-speed rail network is not especially profitable, although this is partly due to the relatively low cost of tickets.
Larry Hu, chief China economist with Macquarie Capital, told the South China Morning Post: “China’s economic growth has three pillars: exports, property and infrastructure investment. Exports can no longer be relied upon, and property speculation will be curbed, so infrastructure investment is the last pillar that shouldn’t fall.”