Despite the fact that the US has a 100 year lead on China on the rails
China is kicking the USA's @ss when it comes to rail. A couple of months ago, China launched the world's longest high-speed rail route from Beijing to Guangzhou, in South China, which connects the two cities that are 2,298 km apart, in an eight-hour commute! (Source: China Daily) That's about two and a half times faster than you can commute between two cities using the fastest ground transportation in the US.
It's bad enough that there's no Free Market on the Rails, but the fact that this appears to have completely stalled Rail development in the US is just insane. There's only one route in the entire US that exceeds 175 kph, official high speed, and the average speed over the line is 135 kph. In comparison, the high-speed trains in Japan and China operate at an average of 220 kph and 285 kph!
The sad thing is that it will be at least 15 more years before the US has a decent high-speed rail line, and that's only if the California High-Speed Rail Authority actually starts to build their high-speed rail line between Anaheim and San Francisco, which seems to be perpetually stalled (as construction has not yet begun and the completion date for the first phase has been pushed until 2018 in their efforts to save a dime while losing the dollar). And if the California High Speed Rail Authority fails, then we're looking at 2040 before Amtrak builds its high-speed rail between New York and Washington. (Wow! Twenty-seven years to build two hundred and thirty miles worth of track. Are they serious? At the rate China builds high-speed rail lines, they'd have it built in five and a half months! The railroad tycoons must be doing cartwheels in their graves!)
If China continues to progress in leaps and bound across the board in supply chain infrastructure while the US sits still, the Economist will be right and China will overtake America as the world leader before the end of the current administration (which is too busy appeasing the fat cats and slashing its own productivity to notice). It's a sorry state of affairs, but maybe you should be manufacturing in China -- for the emerging Chinese consumer!