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Since the founding of the PRC in 1949, China has formed a comprehensive transportation system comprehending railways, highways, civil aviation and water transport and a posts and telecommunications network accessible from all directions. 

As the market economy system was established after the initiation of the policies of reform and opening to the outside world in 1978, historic changes took place in transport, posts and telecommunications - they have developed quickly and are heading for openness and competition, emerging from a closed and monopolistic state.

By the end of 1998, the total length of transportation lines in China had reached 2.98 million km, 16 times and 2.4 times the lengths in 1949 and 1978 respectively; the total length of optical cable lines had reached 173,000 km from zero in 1978.  In 1978, there were no mobile telecommunications in China; however by the end of 1998, the nation's total mobile phone exchange capacity had reached 43.65 million users.

Mobile telecommunications have developed to the extent of using analog and digital networks, and realized automatic roaming with some countries and regions.  Data telecommunications have grown from nothing to the stage of having an efficient network. The level of technical equipment of transport, posts and telecommunications is continuously rising.

By the end of 1998, the length of double-track railways had reached 19,642 km, with a 
double-track rate of 33.6 percent, a nearly 18 percentage points increase over 1978; and the length of electrified lines had reached 13,022 km, with an electrification rate of 22.3 percent, a 20.3 percentage points increase over 1978.

Developing from nothing, the length of expressways has reached 6,258 km.   The numbers of railway engines, civil vehicles, motor transport ships and airplanes have all doubled or redoubled.  New berths at major harbors total 1,201, of which 312 are 10,000-ton-class berths, and the number of new civil airports is 90.  With the improvement of transport capacity and expansion of posts and telecommunications, transport, posts and telecommunications have developed by leaps and bounds.  

In 1998, the various transport means carried 3785.5 billion tons/km of freight and 1055.9 billion person/km - 3.9 times and six times increases over 1978 respectively.  The posts and telecommunications volume totaled 243.1 billion yuan, 78.7 times the 1.165 billion yuan in 1978 in constant prices. 

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482 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 15
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 425
over 3,047 m: 63
2,438 to 3,047 m: 132
1,524 to 2,437 m: 133
914 to 1,523 m: 25
under 914 m: 72 (2009)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 57
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 13
under 914 m: 26 (2009)
45 (2009)
gas 32,545 km; oil 20,097 km; refined products 10,915 km (2009)
total: 77,834 km
country comparison to the world: 3
standard gauge: 77,084 km 1.435-m gauge (24,433 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 750 km 0.750-m gauge (2008)
total: 3,583,715 km (includes 53,913 km of expressways) (2007)
country comparison to the world: 2
110,000 km navigable (2008)
country comparison to the world: 1
Merchant marine:
total: 1,826
country comparison to the world: 3
by type: barge carrier 4, bulk carrier 451, cargo 689, carrier 2, chemical tanker 69, combination ore/oil 1, container 162, liquefied gas 44, passenger 8, passenger/cargo 83, petroleum tanker 244, refrigerated cargo 33, roll on/roll off 10, specialized tanker 9, vehicle carrier 17
foreign-owned: 20 (Ecuador 1, Greece 2, Hong Kong 12, Indonesia 1, Japan 2, South Korea 1, Norway 1)
registered in other countries: 1,441 (Bahamas 10, Bangladesh 1, Belize 71, Bermuda 10, Bolivia 1, Cambodia 193, Cyprus 10, France 5, Georgia 10, Germany 2, Honduras 3, Hong Kong 324, India 1, Indonesia 2, Kiribati 15, South Korea 1, Liberia 11, Malta 12, Marshall Islands 7, Mongolia 1, Norway 36, Panama 532, Philippines 4, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 94, Sierra Leone 15, Singapore 14, Thailand 1, Tuvalu 16, unknown 39) (2008)
Ports and terminals:
Dalian, Guangzhou, Ningbo, Qingdao, Qinhuangdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin


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