Chinese Bullet Trains Changing Business

Published on Author dickey

China’s high-speed rail system has been open for just over five years, and is finally making an impact on the way the nation conducts business. Prior to the introduction of the high-speed rail system, Chinese businessmen would have trips delayed and complicated by hours waiting on late flights, and driving through difficult to navigate countryside. Now businessmen and leisure travelers alike are able to take advantage of the bullet trains. The bullet trains are capable of traveling 430 miles in a little over 2 hours. Furthermore, the ticket prices are a little less than half the price of comparable airline tickets. Because of their speed and convenience, the bullet trains have made doing business across China much more efficient. The trains have increased workers productivity because they have more immediate access to their clients than ever before. The trains stop in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen, and even offer stops in cities with large factories like Tianjin and Chansha. This allows businesses to do more work more efficiently as they are able to speak directly with their consumers across the country with relative ease.

However, the new rail adaptations do come with their own set of consequences. The Chinese government currently has close to $500 billion in rail debt, According to a World Bank report “Even well-performing railways capable of covering their cash running costs and interest on their debt will almost certainly be unable to repay the principal without some long-term financing arrangements.” Furthermore, the decision to build more high-speed rails shows the general Chinese push towards investment driven growth, rather than the advised consumer driven growth.

Despite the economic challenges of the high-speed rail system, ultimately it is a huge boon for China. Workers are able to connect with their clients face to face with more ease than before and conduct their business effectively. The high-speed rail system could make China even more of an economic power than it already is with the ease of doing business.

[msmitka: link for graphic broken, removed]

Article: Bradsher, Keith. “Speedy Trains Transform China.” New York Times. N.p., 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2013.
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2 Responses to Chinese Bullet Trains Changing Business

  1. If there are positive externalities – you note time and congestion, but also air pollution and use of land and capital (one RR line plus a few sets of engine/cars vs one highway plus lots and lots of cars) – if there are positive externalities then we likely want RRs to lose money, low ticket prices so that people use trains instead of alternative transport.

    Note that along the eastern DC-to-Boston corridor taking the train is a good alternative. It may take a bit longer than flying, but leaves you right downtown, and you can work the whole way, no huge hassle with security and lines here and no computers there. Plus I find it more restful. So next time look into Amtrak from C’ville to NYC!

  2. Currently, there is an automotive boom in China. As we saw in the Hessler book sometimes people buy a product not simply for its function but for some other added utility. Mr. Wei bought cigarettes not because he wanted to smoke; he used them as a business asset. By offering a particular pack of cigarettes to a particular person it showed he was urbanized and a businessman. Even if high-speed rail is adopted, businessman who this service is geared for may stick with their polluting time consuming cars. After all, there must be some reason why people buy Mercedes, BMWs, and Lamborghinis instead of a used ford.