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China debt crunch

China Railway's debt nears $900bn under expansion push

Support to boost economy drives state high-speed train operator deeper into red

A high-speed train at a station in Dalian. Spanning over 40,000 km, China's high-speed rail network is the largest in the world. (Photo by Shin Watanabe)

DALIAN, China -- China State Railway Group is doubling down on its expansion of what is already the world's largest high-speed rail network, as the government ramps up efforts to bring the Chinese economy back on track.

But the aggressive campaign has added to the state-owned operator's total liabilities, which as of the end of 2021 reached 5.91 trillion yuan ($882 billion), or around 5% of China's gross domestic product. With the figure only expected to grow, concerns over China's "hidden debt" loom over its economic outlook.

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