Shanghai's massive Hongqiao transportation hub, which includes an airport and a network of railways, has surpassed expectations by earning 500 million yuan (HK$609 million) last year alone, an official says.
The figure was far above the 50 million yuan annual revenue target of the project's proponents, Hong Kong Airport Authority and Shanghai Airport Group, when the hub opened in 2010, said Liu Wu Jun, chief technical officer at the Shanghai firm.
'That [revenue] surpassed our expectations,' Liu said at the recent China International Forum on Urban Mass Transit held in Shanghai.
The 26 square kilometre Hongqiao Comprehensive Transportation Hub - built in Shanghai, the mainland's largest city by population - includes an airport, high-speed railway lines, a metro railway and transport access to surrounding highways.
It also has 3.7 square kilometres of land available for development, one square kilometre of which was sold to property firms including the mainland's Vanke and Hong Kong-listed Shui On Land.
Through these land sales, Liu said the airport authorities had already recovered the 57.3 billion yuan investment needed to build the hub. Last year, Shui On bought land at Hongqiao for 3.19 billion yuan for an eight billion yuan mixed-use development project - and, as Liu says, 'Shui On is just a small part of our property business'.
The hub's construction required 26.7 billion yuan, with an additional 30.6 billion yuan needed for land acquisitions and the relocation of residents in that area. It is one of the costliest transportation hubs in the nation, Liu said.
It also has the largest throughput among the mainland's transportation centres, with daily passenger traffic exceeding 400,000. 'The hub is an important window for Shanghai,' Liu said.
The Hong Kong Airport Authority was pleased with the performance of the joint venture, Liu added, and a spokesman of the authority had revealed plans to expand the retail space at Hongqiao airport Terminal 2 and to revamp Terminal 1.
Hongqiao also boasts a magnetic levitation (maglev) high-speed railway station, which connects to Shanghai Pudong International Airport and the eastern city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang province. Maglev railways do not use wheels or axles, but rather powerful magnets to suspend and move the trains.
Hongqiao's conventional high-speed railways also link to Beijing and Hangzhou.
Hongqiao now sees 10,000 people switching between flights and high-speed trains each day - accounting for 10 per cent of the airport's traffic. 'We initially expected just 1,000 people,' Liu said.
Shanghai Hong Kong Airport Management was formed in 2009 to manage passenger operations and retail at the Hongqiao airport terminals along with the East Ground Transportation Centre at Shanghai international airport.
The cost, in yuan, of the Hongqiao transportation hub project, a joint venture of Shanghai's and Hong Kong's airport authorities