(Yicai Global) Sept. 6 -- Some 43 third-tier cities in China, mainly in Shandong, Henan, Guangdong, Anhui and Hebei provinces, have received approval to develop subway lines in the future, driven by economic development and urbanization efforts.
The country approved four new metro projects last year, in Wuhu in Anhui Province, Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province, Luoyang in Henan Province and Baotou in Inner Mongolia, all of which are third-tier cities.
Future subway developments are expected to be in such provinces as Shandong, Henan, Guangdong, Anhui and Hebei, which have large populations but low rates of urbanization.
Third- and fourth-tier cities remain less attractive compared to nearby conurbations, experts say. They are less optimistic about plans to accelerate urbanization in these areas as people prefer to move directly to first- and second-tier cities.
The cost of building subway lines is increasing in line with costs of relocation. Guangzhou Metro Phase III southern Guangdong province will cost USD130 million (CNY850 million) per kilometer reach. Third- and fourth-tier cities should therefore remain cautious on these capital-intensive projects.