China will invest 700 billion yuan ($102 billion or Rs 4.7 lakh crore — more than 10 times the Indian Railways’ annual outlay) this year on building high-speed railways, according to a report by the country’s official Xinhua news agency.
The money will be used to build up to 4,613 km of high-speed lines connecting major cities, the report said, quoting He Huawu, chief engineer of railways.
At present, China has 6,552 km of high-speed railways in operation, in addition to 10,000 km under construction.
A spending spree on railways was an important part of China’s stimulus package launched in late 2008, but even as the expansionary fiscal policy is wound down, the government has pledged to maintain hefty railway investment.
In 2009, China spent a total of 700 billion yuan on railway construction, including high-speed railways.