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June 12, 2011

High Speed rail and airlines compete for Beijng to Shanghai travellers

1. Beijing-Shanghai travelers will be able to buy coach-class tickets on a bullet-train line opening later this month for a less-than-expected 555 yuan ($86), boosting the threat to local airlines on their busiest route. One-way trips in the two different premium classes will cost from 935 yuan and 1,750 yuan on 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour) services.

Ticket prices on three existing bullet-train lines will also be reduced by 5 percent as the ministry slows trains to 300 kph to pare operating costs and boost passenger numbers.

Air China is advertising June 19 flights to Shanghai from 410 yuan.

One-way high speed rail ticket prices will range between 410 yuan and 1750 yuan ($63 and $270) subject to further adjustments compared to about 1,300 yuan for old air ticket prices between the two cities. The trains would run between 250 and 300 kilometres (155 and 188 miles) per hour on the $33 billion new link, although the line is designed for a maximum speed of 380 kph.

Beijing-Shanghai flights take about two hours, but getting in and out of the airports is time-consuming, and the busy air route is often subject to delays and cancellations. China has invested heavily in its high-speed rail network, which reached 8,358 kilometers at the end of 2010 and is expected to exceed 13,000 kilometers by 2012 and 16,000 kilometers by 2020.

The previous railway minister Liu Zhijun was accused of taking 800 million yuan in bribes and other companies and individuals took 187 million yuan.



2. China's energy consumption rose 6.6 percent annually over the past five years, while its economy grew at 11.2 percent on average. The ratio of energy consumption's growth rate to economic growth rate, or the elasticity coefficient of energy consumption, fell to 0.59 at the end of 2010 from 1.04 at the end of the 10th Five-Year Plan period.

In the five years to 2010, the country achieved a 19.1 percent decrease in energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) with many provinces meeting their energy saving targets.
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