De Jong, M., Mu, R., Stead, D., Ma, Y. and Xi, B. (2010) Introducing public-private partnerships for metropolitan subways in China: what is the evidence?, pp. 301-313. In: Journal of Transport Geography, 18(2). [s.l.]: Elsevier Sciences, 2010. ISSN: 0966-6923.
Rapidly growing motorisation has led to high levels of traffic congestion and emissions and has encouraged large Chinese metropolitan areas to invest in subway developments. The financial burden of these projects, however, far exceeds the availability of available public funds. As a consequence, the Chinese government has started to allow local governments with public–private partnerships (PPP) and private finance to supplement the funding deficit. Analysts often claim that countries have to fulfil certain institutional and other pre-conditions before they can make effective use of PPP. In this article, China’s record in meeting those requirements is examined and conclusions are drawn as to where the remaining weaknesses lie. Seven recent PPP projects for subways in five large metropolitan areas in China (Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Harbin) are investigated empirically. Conclusions are drawn concerning China’s current status regarding the use of PPP, the way it has been adapted to China’s financial, institutional and geographical context and the likely prospects for PPP in China in the future.