China to launch $1.6 trillion of schemes to boost smart manufacturing and protect environment

China is to launch large-scale construction projects with a total value of 10 trillion yuan ($1.6 trillion) over the course of 2018, according to the China Daily newspaper.

Many of these schemes will be led by provincial governments with the goal of expanding economic capacity in high value industries such as smart manufacturing and IT, as well as the Chinese infrastructure staples of airports, high-speed rail and energy generating schemes.

Among the projects are such showpieces as the $2.1bn artificial intelligence campus earmarked for the Mentougou suburb in western Beijing. The aim is to develop a cluster of around 400 businesses with an annual output value of about $8bn.

The park will have high-speed big data, cloud computing, biometrics and "deep" machine learning. It will also have 5G mobile internet, a super computer and cloud services.

One of the biggest spenders will be Shandong province, Beijing’s southern neighbour. This is set to launch 900 projects with total investment of $630bn, according to the province’s development and reform commission.

Six other provinces, including Henan, Hubei, Jiangxi and Guizhou, will also see project investment exceeding $160bn each this year. These projects will be partly aimed at poverty relief and environmental protection, reducing political tensions over the country’s unequal growth and its consequences for air and water pollution.

China’s success as a manufacturer, coupled with its reliance on coal for electricity generation, has created a thriving secondary market in pollution amelioration. Wu Xiaohua, a deputy head in country’s powerful National Development and Reform Commission, told China Daily: "High-quality development will effectively deal with a series of problems brought on by high GDP growth, such as pollution."

Spending on China’s transportation sector in 2018 will be similar to 2017, at about $320bn. It will include about 5,000km of new motorways and the renovation of 216,000km of roads.

Image: A photo of the Chongqing site showing the first section of the Conservatory in place (CapitaLand)

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