China steps up infrastructure investment with go-ahead for 21 projects over past month

Out-Law News | 12 Nov 2014 | 3:51 pm | 1 min. read

China has approved infrastructure projects worth a combined total of more than $100 billion over the past month, according to new figures from government agencies.

Figures from the country’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), cited by the state-run Xinhua News Agency and reported by Reuters, said 21 infrastructure investment projects were approved between 16 October and 5 November, with a total value of around $113bn.

Xinhua said the projects included 16 railways and five airports to help boost sluggish annual growth, which Xinhua said slowed to 7.3% in the third quarter of 2014 and was “the weakest since the height of the global financial crisis”.

According to Xinhua, blueprints for the construction of five additional airports and three railway projects in China were given the go-ahead by the NDRC in October 2014. Total investment in the proposed projects, contained in feasibility studies presented to the NDRC, amounted to around $24.4 billion.

The NDRC’s approvals are in line with the Chinese government’s efforts to push ahead with plans to increase infrastructure investment in the country's less-developed central and western regions. Government figures show China's urban fixed-asset investment grew only 16.1% year on year 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.

In a report published last September, 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 survey 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.”