The rise of public-private partnerships in China

Zhirong Jerry Zhao, Guocan Su, Dan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


This paper examines the rise of public-private partnerships in the longitudinal context of China’s infrastructure finance system since 1978. The system has been characterized by the use of alternative infrastructure finance, including land transfer fees, various types of indirect local government borrowing, and, more recently, the rise of public-private partnerships. While contributing significantly to the unprecedented infrastructure boom, alternative finance sources also raised concerns of fiscal sustainability in China. PPP cannot be an effective way to reduce local governments’ high reliance on debt financing. It is time for the country to develop a more balanced capital structure with ongoing funding support to keep up its long-term infrastructure development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-176
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Chinese Governance
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Zhejiang University.


  • Infrastructure finance
  • land finance
  • local government debt
  • public budgeting
  • public-private partnerships


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