£29bn China railway project to link ‘mega-city’ with Beijing
China has approved a 247bn yuan (£29bn) railway plan to improve transport links between the capital Beijing and the planned Jing-Jin-Ji ‘megacity’.
Jing-Jin-Ji is China’s plan to incorporate the port city of Tianjin, and the neighbouring province of Hebei into a three area mega-city.
E&T looked into Tianjin in 2013, which has been designed as an ‘eco-city’ and could become the blueprint for future Chinese metropolitan developments which are being rapidly constructed as the country’s population becomes more urbanised.
The current population of the three area Jing-Jin-Ji is estimated at around 110 million, and by the time the plan is complete, the project will span 212,000 sq km, or more than twice the size of South Korea.
The railway strategy will cover nine distinct lines that total 1,100km in length, the country’s powerful economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, said in an online statement on Monday.
The projects will be built over the years to 2020, and are part of a wider plan that will stretch to 2030, it added.
The expanding railway networks have cut commute time in the region significantly, said Steven McCord, research head at real estate service firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL).
“It was not possible to go all the way from Beijing to Binghai and that’s a one-hour trip now. It’s now also possible to go between Tianjin and Tangshan in less than 30 minutes, which was previously several hours’ drive,” he said.
“I think there are few places in the world that have that kind of integration. It has made it much easier to do business.”
The news helped push up shares of firms that stand to benefit from the plan.
Shares of China State Construction Engineering Corp soared 10 per cent in Shanghai trading, while China Communications Construction Co surged 6.5 per cent.
Shares of China Railway Construction Corp rose 5.5 per cent and China Railway Group Ltd gained 4 per cent.
Last year India accepted a $14.7bn loan from Japan to build its first bullet train line.