This paper analyses the potential profitability of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High-Speed Rail (KL-SG HSR) based on the relationship between population density and net profit of railways in several countries. Based on demographic trends up to 2030, the population density in Kuala Lumpur will not be sufficient to make the KL-SG HSR as profitable as JR Tokai. The matching population for Kuala Lumpur is calculated to be 20 million deviating from the rank-size rule for cities in Malaysia. On the other hand, the number ranks Kuala Lumpur on the top conforming reasonably well to the rank size rule of the major cities in Southeast Asia. The rank-size rule is known to hold in a geographical space where free movement of people is guaranteed. Hence, our findings suggest that the profitability of the KL-SG HRS will largely depend on the extent of regional economic integration and how economies of agglomeration unfolds in the region.
About the Speakers:
Dr Tomoo Kikuchi is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. He was a Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (2014-2017) and an Assistant Professor of Economics (2007-2014) at the National University of Singapore. He studied in Japan, Germany and the UK, and obtained his PhD in Economics from Bielefeld University in Germany. His research areas are international economics, financial economics, and economic growth and development. He has published over 10 articles in journals including Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Journal of Economic Theory and Theoretical Economics. His latest edited book is China and Japan in the Global Economy (Routledge Studies in the Modern World Economy, 2018).
Mr Akio Tanahashi is a Visiting Scholar at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and a Civil Engineer for the Urban Renaissance Agency, Japan. He worked as an urban planning management officer covering construction of infrastructure such as land, road, water supply and sewerage at the Office for Support of Earthquake Disaster Reconstruction for Iwate, Urban Renaissance Agency. He obtained his Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 2009 from Waseda University in Tokyo.