The Effects of the Development of Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) in the UK and Their Relevance in the Implementation of Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Projects in Chinese Road and Water Sectors




Journal Title

Journal ISSN



Volume Title


De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


There has been a rapid growth of private participation in infrastructure projects throughout the world in the last three decades. China as the largest developing country in the world has a huge amount of demands for high quality infrastructure projects and public services. The government has actively developed and used the Build-Operation-Transfer (BOT) model to deliver public facilities and services, particularly after 2002. Certain benefits have been brought by the adoption of the BOT model in China’s motorway and water sectors. However, issues were also found in the processes behind BOT applications. International organisations as well as scholars suggested that China should learn experiences and lessons from the UK and its PFI scheme. The UK has been the leading country to use private finance in developing public buildings and services. However, very little has been written addressing how lessons from British PFIs can be learnt by China to improve its BOT practice. This study is an attempt to address this vacuum in the existed literature. It was designed to explore the current problems of using BOTs in Chinese motorway and water sectors and looks at what needs to be improved, based upon the PFI lessons in the UK. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative methods has been employed and various methods of data collection used in this study. These included: 21 interviews, 2 observations and one focus group and the analysis on 14 government reports about BOT’s in China. The governments’ decision-makers, directors, project managers and contractors were involved in the research to explore the results and emerging issues involving the implementation of BOT models in 87 Chinese motorway and water projects in 10 cities covering six provinces. As a result of its findings, the research is able to discuss and identify the relevant experiences and lessons from PFIs in the UK to improve further application of China’s BOTs. This study fills the gap in knowledge regarding comparisons between PFIs and BOTs. It also gives recommendations for good practice in relation to Chinese BOT policy decision making, development and evaluation. Finally, the study hopes to give recommendations that enable the implementation of BOT model in Chinese motorway and water sectors to be more successful in the future.



Private Finance Initiative, PFI, Build-Operate-Transfer, BOT, Public-Private Partnerships, PPP, Private Participation in infrastructure, PPI, Private Finance, Infrastructure Investment, Infrastructure Finance, Public Financial policy and management, Project finance



Research Institute