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Changes Driven by High-Speed Railways
 NO. 48 NOVEMBER 30, 2017


High-speed railways are an important symbol of industrial civilization of the late 20th century. China spent less than a decade overtaking competitors. On several core technologies, China even surpassed Japan and Europe, where high-speed train technologies originated.

The wonder of high-speed trains has brought changes to China on at least three levels. First, it has changed China's industrial sector substantially. Like automobiles, production of high-speed trains belongs to the category of advanced manufacturing, and it has a long industrial chain. It is predictable that in the near future, China will focus on the development of high-end advanced manufacturing, like high-speed trains and large aircraft, representing its national hard power.

Second, high-speed railways have ramped up the Chinese people's confidence in the country's development path. High-speed railways represent China's very first foray into the center of the world industrial technology competition.

Third, high-speed railways are changing China's economic geography conditions. The development of a high-speed rail network has started to break the historic and natural locations of industries and narrow the economic gap between China's eastern part and western part. High-speed trains are pushing the flow of production factors, human resources and capitals in a market-oriented direction. In east China, new city clusters based on the high-speed rail network are taking shape. In central and west China, provincial capital cities are competing for resources and production factors in an unprecedented way.

(This is an edited excerpt of South Reviews on November 21)

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