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Bejing seeks western help for subway project

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BEIJING AUTHORITIES are looking to western firms to help deliver a $6bn expansion of the city's subway network.

Four new lines are to be built, one linking to the 2008 Olympic site. Total length of new track will be 100km. In all there will be 87 stations.

Development of mass transit is seen as essential given Beijing's 14M and growing population, and huge 1,000km 2sprawl.

An international conference held at the end of June highlighted opportunities for investors and operators. Beijing Infrastructure Investment Company general manager Wang Qi said government investment will account for 70% and the remaining 30% will come from the private sector.

Beijing is seeking private sector participation, with investors forming a co-operative licensed company with the government. The government will have control of this client company but will not make day to day management decisions.

Private investment will cover aspects such as equipment, ticketing machines and escalators as well as maintenance and renewal.

All revenues from tickets, advertising and rental will go to the private investor for the 30 year concession period.

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