[NPR] Right at this moment, more than two-thirds of all airport construction in the world is happening in China.

82% of Chinese people will live within 100 kilometers of an airport by 2020.

82% of Chinese people will live within 100 kilometers of an airport by 2020.  Photo Wikipedia

The total number of airports in China will be 244 airports by 2020. . This means that by then, 82% of Chinese people will live within 100 kilometers of an airport.

The country is in the first full year of a five-year plan to eventually make China the center of global aviation, and the Chinese government is pumping a quarter-trillion dollars into the project.

“From the American perspective, the whole idea of five-year plans is preposterous,” says James Fallows, author of a new book about China’s aviation boom, called China Airborne. “If you think five-year plan, you think Soviet Union, you think economic failure.”

The new plan is hugely ambitious and not at all certain to succeed, he tells NPR’s Guy Raz, but it’s a window into whether China’s overall economic strategy is actually the model for the 21st century or a cautionary tale.

“Part of the genius of the Chinese economic boom over the last couple of decades,” Fallows says, “is they have combined this large-scale government direction, which actually is important there, with this whole infinity of private, uncontrolled, very entrepreneurial activity.”

He says China’s leaders feel that if the country is ever to attain real prosperity, it needs to succeed in areas like pharmaceuticals, information technology and aerospace. “And that’s what this next push is all about,” he says.

Fallows adds that the new…….

Read the full article at NPR.org……


NPR Staff
May 19, 2012


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