China to focus on infrastructure investment to fight economic slowdown, identifies 102 mega-projects, including 12,000 km high-speed rail expansion
The Chinese government plans to accelerate the rollout of major infrastructure projects in a bid to reverse emerging signs of economic slowdown.
The country’s main economic planning agency announced on Tuesday (January 19) that it will make moderate infrastructure investments to help drive the implementation of 102 megaprojects planned for the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25). .
Given shrinking domestic demand and weak consumption growth, which have emerged as two major weaknesses in the Chinese economy, infrastructure investment is seen as a key requirement.
With an annual growth rate of only 0.4%, Chinese infrastructure investment in 2021 remained almost stable compared to the previous year. Investments in infrastructure are expected to increase by 5% in 2022.
Hit by headwinds on multiple fronts, including the nationwide COVID-19, electricity crisis, supply chain bottlenecks and property sector debacles, China’s economy has seen timid growth. of 4% in the fourth quarter of 2021, slowing from growth of 4.9% in the third (July to September) quarter.
While China’s GDP grew 8.1% in 2021 (boosted by 18.3% growth in the first quarter and 7.9% in the second quarter), the country’s GDP growth is expected to moderate to around 5.5% in 2022.
Pipeline infrastructure including 102 megaprojects
Megaprojects identified for accelerated implementation cover many areas of infrastructure, including roads, railways, mass transit systems, airports, nuclear power plants, power transmission lines and pipelines .
Channeling new investment to expand the country’s already impressive high-speed rail network is among measures identified as a way to curb an economic downturn.
China, which has the world’s largest high-speed rail network, plans to expand its length to 50,000 km by 2025, 12,000 km more than 38,000 km which was operational at the end of 2020. China aims to double the high-speed network to 100,000 km by 2031.
Another area identified as a priority area is expanding the use of its locally developed BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) in the country and abroad.
BDS is a global navigation system independently built and operated by China. As an important space infrastructure, BDS provides all-weather, all-weather and high-accuracy positioning, navigation and timing services to global users.
BDS is positioning itself as a competing US Global Positioning System (GPS) and will provide services in the areas of transportation, emergency medical relief, and city planning and management.
Local government unveils infrastructure roadmap
Aligning with the national goal, the Shanghai local government said it would accelerate projects ranging from navigation and public transit to water conservation and sewage systems.