China backs feasibility studies for new airports and railways

Out-Law News | 27 Oct 2014 | 4:48 pm | 1 min. read

Blueprints for the construction of five additional airports and three railway projects in China have been supported by the country’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

Total investment in the proposed projects, contained in feasibility studies presented to the NDRC, amounts to 150 billion renminbi (CNY) ($24.4 billion), China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

According to Xinhua the five proposed airports, estimated to cost a total of CNY 5.49bn ($897 million), would be built in the provinces of Jilin, Qinghai, Yunnan, Guizhou and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, mostly in the country's western regions.

The railway projects make up the combined majority of the proposed new investments at a total of just over CNY 144bn ($23.5bn), Xinhua said.

The NDRC’s approval comes as China’s government pushes ahead with plans to increase infrastructure investment in the country's less-developed central and western regions to boost economic growth.

Xinhua said latest figures published by China’s government showed China's urban fixed-asset investment grew only 16.1% year on year to CNY 35.78 trillion ($6.3tr) in the first nine months of 2014, which Xinhua said was “largely due to a continuing downturn in the real estate market that has dragged down the broader economy, which slowed to 7.3% in the third quarter”.

An April 2014 report in the China Daily said China planned to invest more than $117bn in its railway infrastructure in 2014 alone.

Last August, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang called for increased private investment in the country’s railways, saying support provided solely by the state “must become a thing of the past”. Li urged the China Railway Corporation Limited to seek “innovative sources of new investment”, which he said would be important to reform.

In a report published last month, Xinhua said a new airport in north-western China’s Qinghai Province, on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, was expected to be completed “within the year”.

According to a 2011 report by KPMG China (4-page / 160 KB PDF), China’s 12th five-year plan outlined government plans to invest more than $260bn in developing the country’s aviation industry. KPMG’s report said: “The switch of focus to domestic consumption and the desire to improve prosperity of the people, would help drive demand for air travel, both domestically and internationally. Increasing prosperity is also likely to increase demand for higher-end cargo, which is more likely to be transported by air.”