On November 28, China’s National Development and Reform Commission released a statement announcing a new $36bn investment plan that will seek to boost transport links in Beijing and the surrounding area. The project, dubbed ‘Jing-Jin-Ji’, aims to create nine new lines connecting Beijing with cities in the northern Hebei province, as well as the port city of Tianjin. The plan also includes links to a new airport in Beijing, providing the groundwork for a fully integrated mega-city with increased global accessibility.
The nine lines will cover a total 1,100km, connecting an area spanning 212,000sq km and a combined population of around 110 million. The project is scheduled for completion by 2020, and is part of a wider project enhancing China’s transportation infrastructure – set to continue until 2030. The government claims to be seeking a range of investors to contribute to the project, but is yet to provide any further details.
[The Jing-Jin-Ji project] provides the groundwork for a fully integrated mega-city with increased global accessibility
The announcement has seen the shares of rail and construction companies in China soar, with three state owned companies seeing substantial rises: China State Construction Engineering went up by 10 percent; China Railway Construction climbed 7.7 percent and China Railway Ground rose by 6.5 percent.
This enormous investment demonstrates China’s commitment to rail technology as a cornerstone of its growth plan. The government’s ‘Made in China 2025’ strategy – for which modern rail transport equipment was highlighted as a priority sector – aims to transform manufacturing industries and move China up the technological value chain.
As well as investing in domestic railways, state-owned rail companies are also pushing for high profile overseas contracts and developing innovative technology to reinforce rail as a key export. Chinese firms have approximately 3,000km of high-speed rail contracts on their order books, and are currently bidding for projects in the US, Malaysia and South America. The Jing-Jin-Ji project is another example of how China is quickly becoming a world leader in rail – a trajectory that is set to accelerate in years to come.