Even if you manage to find a customer to buy your wheat. He will buy it for $150 per ton. But your transport and fuel cost to move the wheat out of these mountains has exceeded $100 per ton. Considering other costs, okay … , so do you grow wheat just to lose money?
What has the Chinese government done to address this problem?
These "Level 50" bridges are indeed very expensive to build. But, on the other hand, they are very cost effective if you consider the amount of fuel saved for trucks, trains, and cars! You don't have to go down and up again and again.
Even if there is already a "Level 5" road along the valleys, the government is still not satisfied. They want to build another high-speed "Level 50" expressway along with it.
In the next 14th Five Year Plan (2021–2025), the government will promise to connect every prefecture city in Gansu with high-speed railways and expressways.
嗯，这是另一个现实生活中的例子，想象一下，你住在甘肃一个偏远的村庄，你想从淘宝（类似于中国版的亚马逊）购买一部手机。2019年从深圳到敦煌，运送一个1公斤的包裹需要多少钱？注意总距离约为3500km。Well, here is another real-life example. Imagine you live in a distant village in Gansu and you want to buy a mobile phone from Taobao (Chinese Amazon), what does it cost to ship a package of 1kg from Shenzhen to Dunhuang in Gansu in 2019? Note that the total distance is around 3500km.
The total cost for shipping over the 3500km is 15RMB ($2.2) and it is promised to arrive in three days.
For comparison, the total cost for shipping a 1kg package from Boston to Reno in Nevada (a similar 4000km) in the US is $26.13 according to the UPS shipping price calculator under the UPS' three-day service.
Therefore in the US, it requires 10x more money to do the same thing! And note that they are both counted in the GDP calculation in both countries. Is it fair? Of course not. This applies to other services too.
这意味着甘肃并非我们原本想象的那么“贫穷”。That means Gansu is not as "poor" as we originally thought.
On one side, you have the cold the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. On the other side, you have the hot Gobi desert. Boom! The temperature difference means wind constantly blows.
Therefore, Gansu is the leader in its renewable energy sector. It has the world's largest on-shore wind farm.
In summary, these conclude the development in the poorest province of China —Gansu. The GDP growth for Gansu province in 2018 is 10.54 percent. And it is still far from enough compared to other provinces because we still have a lot of distant villages in Gansu that are not yet covered by decent roads and bridges. We will wait and see how China continues to eliminate poverty here.
As the Indian subcontinent continues to squeeze, terrains around here are becoming more and more similar to "wrinkles", as mountains are squeezed higher and the rivers continue to carve valleys deeper.
Imagine you are living in the middle of the "wrinkle". You would be surrounded by tall mountains and deep valleys.
It is nearly impossible to move around without flying. Building roads is also nearly impossible. You would be isolated for your whole life.
As a farmer, can you get rich if you live here? That's nearly impossible. If you are ill, you have to call a helicopter to fly to the nearest hospital. But you have to be rich to afford a mobile phone. No signal?
For comparison, a similar railway bridge is also being built in India. It is called the Chenab Railway Bridge. However, this bridge started in 2003 and it was originally intended to be completed in December 2009. But ten years have passed and it remains unfinished.
According to the Ministry of Industry and IT in China, there are 1.204 billion users connected to 4G stations in China. There are 3.72 million 4G base stations installed in China, exceeding 20% more than the rest of the world combined. Guizhou has achieved 100% 4G coverage in all its 10k villages and Yunnan is at 65% and counting.
In 2019, the package price for unlimited 4G internet is 98 RMB ($14.5) for one person and 134 RMB ($20) for a family of three. In the US, 10GB of internet costs as much as $40. In India Internet is cheaper than in China, but 4G coverage is relatively low.
Of course, 4G signals are reliant on electricity. Yunnan and Guizhou are also blessed with hydropower. Most of the world's largest dams and power stations are from Yunnan and Guizhou. They contribute to 30% of the hydroelectricity generated in China.
Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Northern Vietnam are actually very similar in terms of geographic positions and terrains. They both have plenty of flooded plains, hilly mountains and coastal areas.
Even for today in China, there are still a lot of heavyweight goods are shipped by river in China due to the comparatively low cost of transport. The problem for Guangxi is that, since all its rivers flow directly to the east, all river-based shipment from Guangxi has to go through Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
……the biggest embarrassment for the capital Nanning is that ships have to travel 1000km to the east to reach the sea, even though Nanning is only 100km away from the coast to the south. Just imagine the extra cost added for the Guangxi people when it comes to international shipment!
A similar issue can be found in Brazil where a huge mountain range can be seen blocks the coast.……That's why the Brazilian economy is not so good and could not develop manufacturing.
Guangxi is slightly better but shipping costs in Guangxi are more expensive compared to other coastal provinces in China. Due to the high costs, investments and talents would not come and it suffers the severe brain drain from the nearby Canton. This is the ultimate reason why Guangxi is poor.
They need to try their best to improve infrastructure and attract shipments from Chongqing and Kunming.
If it were built, it would be a truly significant boost for the Guangxi economy. With connected water, ships can then carry extra-heavy machinery and goods across most of the river network in Guangxi. It would finally solve the Guangxi problem!
Regarding its road and railway network, Guangxi still has a lot of rooms to improve in terms of density and accessibility. I will not list their detailed projects because they are similar to Yunnan and Guizhou.
After this extremely long post, I hope you understand more about the on-going developments in the four poorest provinces in China. The main takeaway is that China invests much more domestically than it does abroad. This is covered in the news but people just don’t pay attention.
And it is also worth noting that most of the above projects are led by Chinese state enterprises. They lose money for doing this. But they bring huge social benefits to the general people. This is called "socialism with Chinese characteristics" and it is working. That's why the West such as the US and Europe could not achieve nor even consider doing it.