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 1999, the total length of transportation lines in China had reached 3.55 million km, 16.3 times and 2.88 times the lengths in 1949 and 1978, respectively; the total length of optical cable lines had reached 194,000 km from zero in 1978. In 1978, there were no mobile telecommunications in China; however, in 1999, the mobile phone users reached 43.24 million. Mobile telecommunications have developed to the extent of using analogue 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 1999, the length of double-track railways had reached 20,935 km, with a double-track rate of 35.7 percent, a nearly 20 percentage points increase over 1978; and the length of electrified lines had reached 13,629 km, with an electrification rate of 23.4 percent, a 20.4 percentage points increase over 1978. Developing from nothing, the length of expressways has reached 9,083 km. The numbers of railway engines, civil vehicles, motor transport ships and airplanes have all doubled or redoubled. New berths at major harbors total 1,236, of which 347 are 10,000-ton-class berths, and the number of new civil airports is over 90. With the improvement of transport capacity and expansion of posts and telecommunications, transport, posts and telecommunications have developed by leaps and bounds. In 1999, the various transport means carried 4,023.5 billion tons/km of freight, and 1,125 billion persons/km-4.1 times and 65 times increases over 1978, respectively. The posts and telecommunications volume totaled 331.1 billion yuan, 109 times that of 1978 in constant prices.