China's first public-private partnership (PPP) funded high-speed railway saw its financing contract signed on Monday.
Fosun Group leads the consortium of eight private firms that hold 51 percent stake in the Hangzhou-Shaoxing-Taizhou project. State-owned China Railway, Zhejiang Communications Investment Group, and local government hold the rest.
The 269-km railway project is estimated to cost 44.9 billion yuan (6.9 billion U.S. dollars). Construction will take four years.
The share-holders will be responsible for managing the railway for 30 years before they hand it to the government for free.
Fang Jianhong, executive president of Sunvision Equity Investment and Management Co, a Fosun subsidiary, said the fees to be charged on railway users and the government's viability gap funding scheme will help private investors get stable returns from the project.
Officials with Zhejiang Provincial Development and Reform Commission said the project will herald a new era for railway project financing and play an exemplary role.
China has been redoubling its efforts to build the world's most extensive and sophisticated railway network. By 2020, China will have 150,000 km railway including 30,000 km high-speed railway, according to the government's plan.