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Thursday, March 08, 2001, updated at 20:07(GMT+8)

Foreign Investors Interested in China's Key Projects for Next Five Years

Key construction projects China has announced for the next five years have attracted an increasing number of foreign investors.

According to the railway department, the Beijing-Shanghai highspeed railway whose feasibility study is under way, has caught the attention of corporations from France, Germany, Japan and other countries.

The multi-billion project is expected to start within the next five years, according to the Outline of the Tenth Five-Year Plan (2001-2005) for National Economic and Social Development, submitted for approval by the on-going fourth session of the Ninth National People's Congress (NPC), opened in the national capital on Monday.

Other projects scheduled for the period include the west-east natural gas pipeline, west-east power transmission lines, Qinghai-Tibet railway and the massive water diversion project.

The total investment for these projects is estimated at 1.5 trillion yuan (US$180.7 billion), according to economist Yu Zuyao.

The Chinese Government has decided to attract more foreign capital in the development of resources and infrastructure facilities in the coming five to 10 years.

NPC deputy Li Zibin, vice-minister of the State Development Planning Commission, said that at present, foreign investors are greatly interested in China's resources development, pipeline laying, power stations and power grid construction, and development of petroleum and gas resources.

Foreign businessmen may hold participating shares or controlling shares of the project and may even undertake the project independently. The gas transmission pipeline stretches for 4,100 kilometers from the Tarim Basin in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, to Shanghai in east China. The project is scheduled for completion by 2004.

Wang Zhaocheng, vice-minister of railways and also a member of China's top legislature, said that China will pour 200 billion yuan (US$24.09 billion) into railway construction in the western region in the five years to come. The projects include the Qinghai-Tibet railway and cross-border railways in northwest and southwest China.

These projects require a huge amount of capital, advanced technologies, equipment and good services, experts said, adding all these mean chances for foreign investors.

Foreign capital is also needed in the country's agriculture-related projects, such as the restoration of farmland once reclaimed from forests or pastures, and desertification and water pollution control.

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Key construction projects China has announced for the next five years have attracted an increasing number of foreign investors.

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