In China, High-speed Rail Increases Mobility and Drives Growth in Underdeveloped Regions
June 30, 2015—Nanguang Railway is one of six rail lines currently supported by the World Bank in China and one of three that recently became operational. With a route length of 576 kilometers (358 miles), it connects the capital cities of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Guangdong Province of China.
Guangxi is rich in natural resources and home to dozens of ethnic minorities. But economic development has been relatively slow there compared with coastal regions in China. The high-speed railway system will help tap into Guangxi’s natural resources by bringing in more business opportunities and tourists. In this sense, the line will not only benefit local people in terms of reducing travel time but also help boost the local economy.
People have responded positively. When the line opened in December 2014, there were 18 pairs of trains travelling on route per day. Trains have been so full that China Railway Corporation, the national railway operator in China, had to increase the number of trains to 34 pairs in May 2015.
The surveys we conducted onboard show that this new rail line has made an impact on all types of people – old, young, tourists, businessmen, migrant workers, all from different income groups – over 44% of survey respondents earn below 4,000 RMB ($650) per month.