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SHANGHAI, March 6 (Reuters) - State-owned China Railway Corporation plans to seek private investment for a railway development fund that could be launched this year, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Thursday.
The move comes as the Chinese government has vowed to deepen reforms of its state-owned enterprises and to open up protected industries such as finance, petroleum, power, telecom and railway, to private investors for the first time.
Details of the investment fund are still being formulated and a framework may be established by the first half of this year, Peng Kaizhou, deputy general manager of the company was quoted as saying.
Peng said the company was considering setting up a national rail development fund, with a fixed rate of return, or establishing an investment fund for specific projects.
China has pledged to speed up railway investment to help shore up the slowing economy. China Railway Corporation, set up in March to take over the defunct railway ministry's businesses, will spend over $100 billion on more than 6,600 km (4,100 miles) of new railway lines this year, the state news agency said in January.
The China Railways report comes a day after China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the country's largest energy group, said it planned to open six business areas to private investors. Two weeks ago, peer Sinopec Corp opened up its retail oil business to non-state partners. (Reporting by Fayen Wong; Editing by Miral Fahmy)