The Rapid Development of Infrastructure in China

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BEIJING — Infrastructure is comprised of transportation, communications, electricity and sanitation for both urban and rural areas. Infrastructure secures the operation of main urban facilities, provides the basis of working and living for all people, and is crucial for all productive industry.

The development of domestic infrastructure in China has seen great progress in the past decade. In 2016, investment in fixed assets saw an increase of 7.9 percent on the previous year. Total value of fixed assets reached $9.1 billion, among which industries of water conservancy, environmental and public facilities contributed just more than one billion.

Regarding transportation, by the end of 2016, the mileage of national railway was 124,000 kilometers, including 22,000 kilometers of high-speed rail. Among the 4.7 million kilometers of roadway, the mileage of highway made up 131,000 kilometers. There were 30,388 berths at harbors for production, and the number of airports for civil aviation was increased from 210 to 218.

Urban infrastructure in China is an important support for urban development and society. The urban population of China is approximately 790 million, and the country has an urbanization rate of 57 percent. As urban population increases, the demand for infrastructure is also on the rise. According to the twelfth five-year development plan (2011-2015), the following growth in urban infrastructure was facilitated:

  • Drainage pipes increased from 414,000 to 540,000 kilometers
  • Water supply pipes increased from 574,000 to 710,000 kilometers
  • Natural gas pipelines increased from 30,000 to 50,000 kilometers, while traditional gas pipelines were reduced from 37,000 to 21,000 kilometers.
  • Urban areas, in general, grew from 183,600 to 191,800 square kilometers
  • Green spaces in urban areas increased from 22,400 o 26,700 square kilometers.

Between 2016 and 2018, the Chinese government approved a host of infrastructure projects from railways and highways to watercourse and airports, totaling roughly $710 billion. Among these, 103 newly opened projects are urban rail transits with a total new mileage of 2,385 kilometers and investment equal to $248 billion.

The remaining investment budget is concentrated on 86 projects of high-speed, central and western and cross-city lines; for roadways, investments are focused on 54 projects of highways; the remaining large projects are oriented for constructions of airports and watercourses.

While some scholars questioned whether infrastructure investments in China would put a potential strain on the economy, efficient spending on national infrastructure remains strongly advocated. These continued investments in future prosperity is a mark of success for infrastructure in China.

– Xin Gao
Photo: Pixabay

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