Jul. 7 – China will invest US$100 billion in 23 new infrastructure projects across the country’s remote western expanses in an attempt to develop the region’s lackluster economy, according to state sources.
The government’s decision comes as a welcome attempt to address the longstanding and serious issue of expanding inequality between China’s coastal provinces and the nation’s hinterland.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission announced the US$100 billion infrastructure investment on its web site on Tuesday, the day after Premier Wen Jiabao stated that the Chinese economy was in the midst of an “extremely complicated” situation.
The NDRC confirmed that the large-scale investment will go towards airports, roads and railways, coal mines, and nuclear power station projects which it believes will “actively expand domestic demand and promote the fast and health development of the western areas.”
The proposed infrastructure fund will cover projects in the Chinese autonomous regions of Inner Mongolia, Tiber, and Xinjiang as well as the provinces of Sichuan and Yunnan. This new plan is in addition to the pledge of US$1.5 billion already made by the Chinese government last month aimed at raising the living standards of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang. China has already spent US$322 billion on major projects throughout the region over the last 10 years.
China Briefing Business Guide to West China