China’s National Development and Reform Commission has announced plans to transform transportation links in and around Beijing to make it more globally accessible. The plan will require $36 billion in investments, in order to complete the developments by 2020. The project, called ‘Jing-Jin-Ji’, involves the creation of nine new rail lines connecting Beijing with cities in the Hebei province in the North, and the port city of Tianjin. The new lines will cover a distance of 1,100km, to connect 110 million in and around the mega-city. The new airport being built in Beijing will also be connected. The aim is to create greater integration, in order to assist the manufacturing industry in having more global access. This new project is in line with the country’s goal of fully upgrading its transportation network by 2030.
Though more details are currently unavailable, the country is open to a wide network of investors. The announcement caused shares in rail companies to increase, including those of three state-owned operators. Shares in China State Construction Engineering were up by 10 percent, China Railway Corporation got a 7.7 percent bump and China Railway Ground went up by 6.5 percent. Rail transportation is a highly valued sector, and these investments are expected to boost the country’s profile overseas. State owned firms are currently undertaking the construction of 3,000 km of high-speed rail networks outside the country. They are also bidding for contracts in the US, South America and Malaysia. The country has an ambition to become the world leader in high-speed rail services.