China approves $19.3bn of transport projects

The Chinese economic regulator has approved feasibility reports on seven new infrastructure projects in the airport and railway sectors, as part of a wider programme of modernisation.

China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced it has approved feasibility reports on seven new infrastructure projects including four airports, two railway projects and an aviation safety centre, collectively worth CYR120 billion (€17.2 billion; $19.3 billion) in a stretch of land covering the intensely industrialised Yangtse River Delta.

The projects appear to fit the long-term strategy of Asian economic integration which was outlined in a statement published on the NDRC’s website, in which the regulator announced the launch of a programme of renovation and modernisation of infrastructure to focus on the Pearl River Delta, highlighting the leverage which cooperation at the ASEAN level could bring to the region.

“At present, profound changes are taking place in the economic situation at home and abroad, and the Pearl River Delta is at the crucial point for transforming its economic structure and development pattern. […] Geographically, this outline focuses on Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Jiangmen, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Huizhou, and Zhaoqing, reaching out to the Pan-Pearl River Delta Region, noted the circular laying out plans for the 2008-2020 period,” said the NDRC.   

The seven projects are to be funded through the central government budget, local fiscal funds as well as capital from private investors.

The four airport projects comprise: the CNY14.468 billion expansion of the Haikou Meilan International Airport in Hainan, a tropical tourist hotspot; the CNY691 million Heilongjiang Province Wudalianchi civil airport, to be built to serve the north-eastern Heilongjiang province; and, in Xinjiang, the CNY558 million Schache and CNY548 million Ruoqiang civil airports.

On the rail front, the NDRC gave the green light to a CNY96.08 billion high-speed rail project linking Shangqiu, Hefei, and Hanzhou; and a CNY13.8 billion railway project in Guangdong linking Hepu to Zhanjiang, following the highly industrialised Yangtse river delta.

Last but not least, the NDRC has also approved the construction of a CNY96.8 million Heilongjiang Province Wudalianchi civil airport, to serve the northeastern Heilongjiang province.

As of June 1st, the NDRC has allowed private sector investment in public-private partnerships in the sectors of energy, transportation, water and environmental protection projects, with guarantees over investors’ contractual rights.