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Planes, Trains & Automobiles: China Is On The Move

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The Ministry of Commerce has reported that Chinas auto exports have exceeded imports for the first time (by 7,000 units in the first 10 months). Auto exports (mostly trucks and small cars sent to developing countries) more than doubled during the period, while imports (mainly expensive cars from Japan, Germany and the US) fell by almost 11.6 percent. Import figures will likely be impacted by the removal of tariffs by the end of 2006, under the WTO schedule.

Following very rapid rises over the past few years, domestic vehicle sales will grow at an estimated 13 percent (5.6 million units) in 2005, and could reach 6.4 million units (including 3 million passenger cars) in 2006. The rise is being driven (excuse the pun) by increased consumer spending, and by better access to financing GM, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota, and DaimerChrysler have all set up financing ventures. There is also a trend to increased commuting by car, with 23.3 percent now driving to work (the figure was just 6 percent in 1984). Meanwhile warnings of over-capacity continue, with the estimated current level of 2 million units set to rise as more car plants come online.

While more people are using cars to get to work, 26.5 percent still rely on public transport, and they are likely to benefit from plans to build metro networks in 50 cities over the next 5 years at a cost of some US$62 billion.

The rail network will also receive significant investment to fund expansion. It is reported that US$250 billion will be needed by 2020 to reach 100,000 km of rail lines (up from 74,000 km now). Foreign investors have been invited to participate, but it is not clear how attractive the returns will be.

Together with the expansion in air travel (see earlier article), more Chinese people will be able to travel further than ever before, but for those on the roads it is unlikely to be any faster – no doubt China is already the biggest traffic jam market in the world!

See related artices:

    China’s auto exports surpass imports for first time
    China Daily – China
    China’s auto exports exceeded imports for the first time — by 7,000 units in the first ten months this year, the Ministry of Commerce reported Sunday, as a …

    In carmaking, China closes in on No. 3 rank
    International Herald Tribune – France
    Vehicle sales in China could rise by up to 13 percent this year, to 5.6 million units, according to a research paper presented in Beijing on Saturday at a …

    China’s railways welcome foreign investors on board/sxcar.php
    Financial Times – London,England,UK
    For railway history buffs, the news is bad: over the next year or so China is expected finally to phase out the steam engines that still run so picturesquely …

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