As of the end of 2019, a total of 40 cities in mainland China have opened urban rail transit, with a total length of 6,70.27 kilometers of operating lines, and a total of 968.77 kilometers of new operating lines.

However, most urban rail operations in the world cannot make ends meet and rely on government subsidies to maintain operations. With the continuous expansion of urban rail construction and operation scale, governments at all levels are increasingly burdened with financial burdens, making it difficult to achieve sustainable development. A profitable operation model is the key to the sustainable development of the subway.

However, in China, the total operating income and profit of the subway companies in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou ranks in the top three, and the Hong Kong Metro is recognized as the highest-income subway company in the industry. The total revenue of the Hong Kong Metro in 2019 is converted into about 49.1 billion yuan. More than twice the size of Shenzhen Metro. What is the proportion of the revenue of these subway companies? The following data can be simply analyzed as follows.


As can be seen from the above figure, the real estate income of Shenzhen Metro accounts for 67.7%, which is more than three times the operating income. From the perspective of revenue share, Shenzhen Metro should be a “real estate company” that has opened a subway transportation business.


Guangzhou Metro, which ranks second, has the highest proportion of operating income, reaching 45.08%; followed by property management, accounting for 22.86%; the industry’s external services also made a significant contribution, reaching 16.75%. The Guangzhou Metro is a typical subway operation-oriented model that expands various business models in all aspects, relying on property, external exports and other service income to balance operating losses.


The Hong Kong Metro’s operating income accounted for 36.6%, ranking second in its total revenue; Mainland China and international railways, property leasing and management business revenue accounted for 38.7%, ranking first; Hong Kong’s local property leasing and management business revenue accounted for The ratio is only 9.4%. Generally speaking, the Hong Kong Metro mainly relies on exporting technology to the mainland and internationally, operating cooperatively, and at the same time coordinating with local ticketing revenue, to be able to sit on the top of the revenue list.


Further analysis of the profit margins of the main businesses of the two subway companies in Shenzhen and Guangzhou shows that the profit margins of the subway operations are all negative, and even the most profitable subway companies lose money on ticketing revenue.

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