China is building an efficient transportation network in line with international standards. In recent years, the country's integrated three-dimensional transportation infrastructure has improved significantly in both scale and quality.
During the 13th Five-year Plan period (2016-20), transportation development entered a new stage of modernization. China has put more emphasis on the optimization of transportation layouts, network quality and efficiency and the elimination of bottlenecks, as well as capacity and connectivity improvements between international transport corridors.
Land transportation network
The ever-advancing lattice of railways and roadways in China forms a multi-layered traffic network extending in all directions. The length of China's high-speed railways, freeways and urban rail networks all rank tops in the world.
(1) Regular-speed rail
By the end of 2020, China's railway network has a total length of 146,300 kilometers. These railways shape a dense net covering almost every corner of China, even remote mountainous areas, from Tibet on the "Roof of the World" to Hainan Island on the sea. By 2025, the railway network in China will reach 175,000 km.
(2) High-speed railway
China is one of the few countries in the world equipped with high-speed railways, and leads in high-speed rail construction with increased operational high-speed rail mileage every year.
From 2016 to 2020, the nation continued to expand the network, with the length of high-speed lines nearly doubling to 37,900 km and bullet trains handling 9 billion passenger trips. By the end of 2020, 95 percent of areas with populations of more than 1 million had access to the high-speed railway network. By 2035, the high-speed railway network will be expanded to cover 70,000 km, reaching areas with populations of more than 500,000.
As of the end of 2020, China had already built the world largest highway network, with a total of 5.2 million km of highways, of which expressways represented 161,000 km. Expressways covered 99 percent of cities with a population above 200,000 and prefecture-level administrative centers.
National expressways are expected to connect all the prefecture-level administrative centers and cities and counties with a population above 100,000 residents and to directly serve 90 percent of county-level administrative districts. The rapid development of road infrastructure has significantly improved road traffic capacity, transport efficiency, and logistics development.
As of the end of 2019, China had 238 licensed airports, 106 of which had an annual passenger throughput of over one million. In 2019, Beijing Capital International Airport achieved a 100-million passenger throughput, ranking second in the world for the tenth consecutive year; the cargo throughput of Shanghai Pudong International Airport stood at 3,634,200 tons, ranking third worldwide for the twelfth consecutive year.
By the end of 2019, China had 5,521 scheduled air routes, including 953 international routes. Air China, the flag carrier of the People's Republic of China, operates regular flights to 234 domestic cities (excluding Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan), and 167 international cities across 65 countries. China has signed 127 bilateral air transport agreements with other countries or regions.
China has gradually improved the class and increased the mileage and harbor capacities of its inland waterways. As of the end of 2019, inland waterways came to 127,300 km in total, up to 13,800 km of which ranked third class or above. All of the country's ports had 2,520 berths at or above the 10,000-ton level, including 2,076 coastal port berths, giving China the world's largest throughput.
In addition, seven of the world's top 10 ports in terms of both cargo and container throughput are in China. Container throughput contributed by railway-waterway transport rose by 20 percent on average every year.
In terms of regional distribution, China has so far formed five major port clusters, namely, the Yangtze River Delta (Shanghai, Ningbo, and Lianyungang ), Pearl River Delta (Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen), Bohai Bay economic rim (Dalian, Tianjin and Qingdao), the southeast coastal region (Xiamen, Fuzhou and Quanzhou) and the southwest coastal region (Zhanjiang, Fangchenggang and Haikou).
Communication infrastructure and network coverage
China has built up a strong information communication industry from scratch. The scale of communication infrastructure and the capacity for independent innovation have improved significantly.
China has already established the world's largest 4G network, with more than 98 percent of administrative villages connected by optical fiber. Meanwhile, China is steadily advancing the construction of 5G infrastructure and 5G commercial applications. As of the end of March, China had built more than 819,000 5G base stations, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total. About 280 million mobile device users have joined the 5G network, accounting for over 80 percent of the world's total.
In the course of such projects, China will also complete the construction of a new-generation backbone transmission network, which will feature a massive capacity, fast internet speeds, and flexible management to achieve a relatively complete system of commercial satellite communication services.