Infrastructure 2013: global priorities, global insights

Asia Pacific

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From Tokyo to Beijing to Seoul and Singapore, efficient new international airport terminals connect by high-speed rail to center-city commercial districts and state-of-the-art mass transit lines link to residential neighborhoods.

Paced by China, many Asian nations continue to make infrastructure development a high priority, building out some of the most advanced and integrated systems in the world.

China

Infrastructure may be one of the country’s key growth drivers in 2013, employing hundreds of thousands of laborers who might otherwise be out of work, supporting myriad manufacturers including steel companies and machine makers, and sustaining regional and local governments in the expansion of various road, rail and subway projects. As a result, “China will continue to outpace everywhere else” in infrastructure spending and building.

Japan

In a familiar gambit for Japan, the country’s new conservative Liberal Democratic government is looking to public works spending to jump-start the economy, which has stagnated for more than two decades.

An “enormous” $215 billion stimulus package will focus on creating jobs and reviving the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima region, which lies northeast of Tokyo. Thanks to an ongoing stream of generous government allocations, Japan already features some of the world’s most advanced, state-of-the-art transportation infrastructure, including integrated high-speed rail, subways and airports.

India

For all its high-profile infrastructure projects in recent years—a national highway system connecting its four largest cities; modern airports; subways in New Delhi, Bangalore and soon Mumbai as well as Hyderabad; and a score of major power projects—the country chronically struggles to meet the needs of an economy that has been growing at a heady 7 percent annual clip. In fact, analysts suggest that infrastructure bottlenecks prune gross domestic product (GDP) by at least 2 percent annually.

Australia

Like most developed countries, Australia is coping with the costs and inevitable political hurdles inherent in enhancing and reworking its aging infrastructure, which is straining to meet expanding 21st-century industrial and demographic demands.

Indonesia

Indonesia’s burgeoning middle class and expanding economy—now Southeast Asia’s largest— lead the government to address obvious infrastructure shortcomings to sustain growth. The country wants to finance as much as $250 billion in new roads, ports, railways, and power plants over the next five years, and the central government plans to increase infrastructure spending by as much as 15 percent in 2013.