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Beijing to seek investors for metro lines
Updated: 2004-12-18 23:05

Beijing will select investors for two new metro lines, loop 5 and loop 10, through public bidding among domestic private or overseas companies, a government official said.

The move is viewed as an essential step in the reform of Beijing's investment system in infrastructure construction, said Wang Qi, general manager of the Beijing Municipal Infrastructure Investment Co., Ltd.

Earlier this month, the Beijing Municipal Construction Committee announced it would offer a 30-year franchise for the operation of the metro loop 4 to non-governmental investors, a historic step for the city to open its metro market.

According to Wang, public bidding for the proprietors of loop 5 and loop 10 will start on January 1, 2005, and the government will transfer the right to management of the two lines to the winners for 20-year operation beginning as soon as they are finished in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

Wang said the total investment for loops 4, 5 and 10, all under construction now, will exceed 40 billion yuan (about US$4.8 billion).

Currently, two joint-ventures are bidding for the franchised operation of loop 4. One is the combination of the Hong Kong MTR Corporation, the Beijing Infrastructure Investment Co., Ltd and the Beijing Capital Group; the other is composed of German-based Siemens, China Railway Construction Corporation and Beijing Metro Corporation.

In addition to the operation of the line, the selected company will also need to put up some five billion yuan, about 30 percent, of the loop's total 15.3-billion-yuan investment. The remaining cost will be covered by the Beijing municipal government, added Wang.

Moreover, Wang acknowledged that the Beijing municipal government is considering selling franchised operation of several other new metro lines in the future, and loop 9, to cost some 8 billion yuan, will open for bidding next year.

From 2009 to 2015, a 349.7-kilometer track network will be formed in the capital Beijing in the hopes of alleviating heavy traffic.

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