In a fascinating overview of the system, New York Times lays out some impressive statistics. Not only do the high-speed trains serve twice as many passengers per month as China's domestic airlines, but, with strong passenger growth continuing, the number of monthly passengers on the network (54 million) will surpass monthly domestic airline passengers in the United States, the world's largest domestic air market, next year. And while it comes at high costs, the rail network is making workers more productive and transforming the way business is done, Keith Bradsher reports:
Companies are opening research and development centers in more glamorous cities like Beijing and Shenzhen with abundant supplies of young, highly educated workers, and having them take frequent day trips to factories in cities with lower wages and land costs, like Tianjin and Changsha. Businesses are also customizing their products more through frequent meetings with clients in other cities, part of a broader move up the ladder toward higher value-added products.