High-Speed Empire

High-Speed Empire
Chinese Expansion and the Future of Southeast Asia

The story of the world’s most audacious infrastructure project.

A decade ago, China did not have a single high-speed train in service. Today, it owns a network of over 14,000 miles of high-speed rail, far more than the rest of the world combined. Now China is pushing its tracks into Southeast Asia, reviving a century-old colonial fantasy of an imperial railroad stretching to Singapore and kicking off a key piece of the One Belt One Road initiative, which has a price tag of $1 trillion and reaches inside the borders of more than 60 countries.

The Pan-Asia Railway portion of One Belt One Road could transform Southeast Asia, bringing new cities, economies, and migrants to places where none existed before. But if it doesn’t succeed, that would be a cautionary tale about whether a new superpower, with levels of global authority unimaginable just a decade ago, can pull entire regions into its orbit simply with tracks, sweat, and lots of money. Journalist Will Doig traveled to Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore to chronicle the dramatic transformations taking place—and the ordinary people caught up in this moment of economic, political, and cultural collision.

High-Speed Empire
  • ISBN: 978-0-9977229-8-7
  • Price: $14.99
  • E-Book price: $14.99
  • E-book ISBN: 978-0-9977229-8-4
  • On Sale: May 3, 2018
  • Pages: 125


“A richly textured portrait of how China’s infrastructural diplomacy is changing the urban face of its neighbors. It’s not easy to find poetry and importance in industrial zones, half-empty malls, and real estate showrooms, but Doig has done just that in sketching the ambitions of China and its people.”—Greg Lindsay, co-author of Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next

About the author

Will Doig
© Adam Arjuna

Will Doig is a journalist covering urban development. He has been an editor at the Open Society Foundations, Next City, and The Daily Beast. He created and wrote Salon’s weekly “Dream City” column, and was a recurring guest on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation.” A graduate of George Washington University, he lives in New York City.