Infrastructure construction perks up on policy support
From road construction sites to water conservancy projects across China, excavator operators have been pretty busy this year amid the country's endeavors to rev up infrastructure construction.
According to the "excavator index" tracked by leading construction gear maker Sany Heavy Industry Co Ltd, the cumulative working hours of excavators in China during the first six months increased by 6.86 percent from a year ago.
During the second quarter, the monthly average operating rate of the engineering equipment reached 66.77 percent, climbing from 53.98 percent in the first quarter, the index showed.
The increased workload of the engineering machinery reflected in the index points to the effectiveness of the pro-growth policies, the accelerated pace of infrastructure construction, and the improvement of investor confidence, said Zhu Minghao, a researcher with Beijing Jiaotong University.
The industry data were in line with the growth of fixed-asset investment, which jumped 6.1 percent during the first half of the year from a year earlier to 27.14 trillion yuan ($4.02 trillion), data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
Meanwhile, investment in the infrastructure sector gained 7.1 percent year-on-year.
Behind the upbeat reading, China has undertaken a flurry of pro-investment initiatives. The country has promised a moderately proactive approach to advance infrastructure investment in this year's Government Work Report.
In the first half, local governments in China have issued 3.41 trillion yuan worth of new special bonds, which offered support to over 23,800 projects, 13,000 of them being newly launched, according to the Ministry of Finance.
During the period, the country initiated construction of nearly 170 new highways and national and provincial road projects, with total investment reaching 291 billion yuan.
With rural revitalization high on the government's agenda, the country has also stepped up investment in rural infrastructure. Some 60,000 kilometers of rural roads and 3,283 unsafe bridges were reconstructed in the first half, up 17.7 percent and 9.2 percent year-on-year, respectively.
Besides traditional infrastructure projects such as roads and railways, the country is also betting on the new infrastructure as a part of its long-term goal to optimize the overall economic layout and foster new growth drivers.
From cloud computing and artificial intelligence platforms to data centers and the industrial internet, China has channeled more investment into the development of new infrastructure.
In terms of digital information infrastructure, the country has added nearly 300,000 5G base stations in the second quarter, bringing the total number of the stations in use to over 1.85 million, official data showed.
Looking ahead, the country will accelerate the construction of the 102 key projects listed in the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), actively advance projects under construction, and further leverage the special bonds and financial services to support major projects, said Zhai Shanqing, an NBS official.