Investors offered slice of rail line
Heihe, a border city in northern Heilongjiang province, is offering foreign investors a slice of its newly planned railway line, aimed at facilitating Sino-Russian trade.
The 100 kilometres rail link will run from Sunwu to Xunke, situated by the Heilongjiang River. Total investment will be US$21 million.
Heihe Regional Railway chief Sun Weijun said: 'The railway will be conducive to the prosperity of the border trade between China and Russia.' Heihe, also on the Heilongjiang River, is China's biggest border trade point with Russia. On the other side of the river is the Russian city of Brakwershensk.
Mr Sun said foreign investors would be allowed to take part in railway management and property development along the line.
Heihe Regional Railway Bureau is itself the city's largest enterprise.
It also runs the 241 km line from Longzhen to Heihe, costing 200 million yuan (about HK$185.8 million).
Mr Sun said, being a regional line meant it was easier to lure foreign investment because of autonomy in ticket pricing.
The bureau charges 13 fen per tonne-kilometre for its Longzhen-Heihe line, compared with the state-fixed freight rate of 5.365 fen, including a portion for the Railway Construction Fund.
Beijing has held a tight grip on state-line tariffs for fear of fueling inflation.
It also has barred direct foreign investment in state lines.
During his visit to Hong Kong as part of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation delegation to the 1996 China (Hong Kong) Investment Symposium, Mr Sun also offered another investment opportunity - a food and soft drinks project which is one of its diversified operations.