China boasts a 25,000 kilometer nationwide HS rail system — the world's largest and 60% of the world's total. Handout.

The State Council has approved the restructuring of China Railway Corporation and renamed it the China State Railway Group Co. Ltd. in an effort to make the company more market-oriented, China Daily reported.

With a registered capital of nearly 1.74 trillion yuan (US$252 billion), the company is run by the central government, and the Ministry of Finance performs the investor’s duty on behalf of the State Council, according to a company statement released on Tuesday.

The group corporation with a board of directors is an authorized investment entity and can establish subsidiaries, branch companies and representative offices in line with business development needs, the statement said.

The move came after a series of institutional reforms had been made since 2017 to improve the corporate governance of the country’s railway network, the report said.

Launched in 2013 upon the dissolving of the Railway Ministry, the China Railway Corporation has been in the forefront of the country’s corporate reform with a goal to foster modern railway enterprises and separate government functions from business operation.

The inauguration of the new group corporation is conducive to enhancing capital utilization efficiency, market competitiveness and risk-preventing capabilities of the local railway industry.

It is also expected to make State-owned railway firms more market-oriented and more capable to provide better cargo and passenger transport services for the public, the report said.

According to Forbes magazine, high-speed rail in China has ballooned from a single 113 kilometers demonstration line built specially for the 2008 Beijing Olympics into a 25,000 kilometer nationwide system — the world’s largest HS rail network, and 60% of the world’s total.

That first Beijing-Tianjin line took three years to build. The rest of the national network took just another ten.

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