If you draw a line from the North to South of China between Beijing and Guangzhou, and then another from East to West between Shanghai and Chongqing (the largest city in China and the focus of our visit on Tuesday) the point at which these two lines intersect is the city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei Province in central China. Not surprisingly, Wuhan has become China's transportation and logistics hub with extensive plans to upgrade and extend a vast network of roads, railways, airports and waterways.
Wuhan lies on the Yangtze River and is downstream from the famous Three Gorges Dam project which is due for completion later this year. The Yangtze River serves two-thirds of China's population, passes through seven provinces and forms a substantial part of Wuhan's Master Plan. With plans to build major new highways, bridges, tunnels and railways, not to mention a second airport terminal, Wuhan's population is expected to rise to 12m (currently 9.69m) by 2020. It's becoming a very important city in the development of "China 2.0" and creates opportunities in all areas of building, construction, design, architecture, transport and logistics.
Whilst on the subject of transportation, I also learnt today of the plans for Beijing's new airport (the new Beijing Capital International airport, through which I have already passed a few times, is only a few years old and is a very impressive and substantial facility with an existing annual capacity of 80m passengers and three terminals) which will be completed in 2017. South of Beijing, and servicing both Beijing and Tianjin via high speed railways, the new airport will service another 130m passengers with 8 new runways (yes, that's 8!). By the end of this decade, China will have built another 54 new airports, making a total of 224!
The good news for everyone is that there are no signs of a slowdown in China. These plans are approved, funded and in development and will keep their economy ticking along nicely whatever happens in the US and Western Europe!