The Chinese government has announced a plan to expand its high-speed rail network to more than 30,000 km by 2020.

Details released at a State Council Information Office briefing in Beijing describe a CNY3.5 trillion ($730 billion) proposal to connect up to 80% of major cities in the country via the network.

At the end of 2015, China’s high-speed rail system extended to around 19,000 km – a relatively small proportion of its 121,000 km total rail network.

The government will invite private investors to assist in funding the project to add a further 11,000 km to the high-speed network, thus aiding President Xi Jinping’s efforts to kick-start economic growth in the country.

The plan is set to benefit a number of China’s rail construction and rolling stock supply companies, including China Railway Construction Corp, China Railway Group and CRRC Corp.

The government will also hope its plans for rail reforms – including an ‘adjustment’ to fares – will give a much-needed boost to the state-run rail operator China Railway Corp, which incurred a loss of CNY5.6 billion ($805 million) in the first nine months of 2016.

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