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China Railway expands high-speed network as profits take back seat

State-owned operator's debt rises to 5% of national GDP

China has laid more high-speed rail track than any other country and plans to build even more. (Photo by Shin Watanabe)

DALIAN, China -- China's national railway company continues its drive to expand its high-speed network, but support for the economy rather than profitability appears to be the locomotive force.

China State Railway Group, known as China Railway, has announced plans to extend those tracks by about 6% in 2023 even as many routes are mired in losses and passenger demand slumps due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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