“China High Speed Rail Sector and Investment Opportunity Analysis” report gives comprehensive insight on the current and future development scenario related to high speed rail network in China. Report discusses and analyzes the ongoing transformation in the overall rail passenger rail travel in China due to emergence and exponential growth in the high speed rail network over the last decade. Currently China has emerged as the predominant player in the global high speed rail transfer sector and is expected to continue to dominate the scenario in future driven by government policy and investments initiatives.
China high speed railway network is the longest in the world extending to 29 of the country's 33 provincial-level entities. The network consists of newly built passenger-dedicated lines (PDLs) and intercity lines along with upgraded mixed passenger and freight lines. The trains run on upgraded conventional lines as well as passenger dedicated high-speed track with maximum speed 250 kmph and 350 kmph respectively. The total network length surpassed 20000 km at the end of 2016 as compare to just 1350 km in 2007.
In terms of passengers, high speed trains form about 52% of total number of rail passengers in China in 2016 – China railways carried more than 2.5 Billon passengers in 2016 – an increase of 11% over the previous year. Just within nine years after commencement of operation, majority of China’s rail passengers shifted to high speed railways and the proportion is likely to go up substantially in the coming years with introduction of new HSR routes. The overwhelming popularity of HSR network reflects the considerable reduction in journey time and level of services.
The government's Mid-to-Long Term Railway Network Plan adopted in 2004, and updated in 2008, laid out a development strategy for the network for the period up to 2020 that was later extended to 2030. A national HSR grid of eight HSR corridors including four verticals and four horizontals – as mentioned in the plan is the basis of China’s high speed rail network. Most of the routes built under the grid were passenger dedicated lines (PDL). The earliest PDLs built were sections of the corridors that connected large cities in the same region.
China’s massive expansion of high speed railway or railway as a whole will obviously enhance the scope of foreign direct investment that has been one of the key drivers in China’s impeccable growth for about three decades. There are efforts to provide more opportunities to China based businesses in every sector including railway infrastructure and maintenance, but due to pressure domestic as well as international, China Government is very likely to liberalize the rules for foreign investment in railways including high speed rail.
Linking most of the cities including the newly developed ones and the cities in the west or central parts will result in greater mobility of people across the country discouraging the tendency to throng only in large cities. There are already indications that China’s west or central parts are also coming up fast to match with the eastern counterparts in terms of economic progress. Hence the HSR routes in west or central parts which are till now non-productive are likely to reach break-even stage in next five to seven years. Further expansion of HSR network in those parts will reduce the great regional disparity as well as the urban-rural difference which are of great concern in China, may finally fade away.