GUANGZHOU, China (TheStreet) -- China's economy may be slowing, but the government is still going ahead with big infrastructure projects. And that's good news for U.S. and other foreign contractors.
Take, for example, the major expansion underway at Guangzhou's Baiyun Airport, the major transportation hub for factory-intensive southern China. The airport, which already covers 15 square kilometers (5.8 square miles), is building a new terminal of 595,000 square meters (6.4 million square feet), big enough for 75 million passengers per year. It will open between 2016 and 2018.
Construction of the $2.97 billion terminal should give business to U.S.-listed airlines, construction suppliers, fashion brands with airport outlets and the most specialized of airport design firms.
"To turn a design vision into an organizational reality, there is a small number of firms with the knowledge, expertise, and special skills to pull it off," said James Berkeley, managing director of the London-based management advisory service Ellice Consulting. "What we will see is an uptick in collaboration with Chinese firms -- designers, advisers, developers and construction partners."
The same pro-business trends have shaped up at other Chinese mega-airports, including a new one due to open in Beijing.
An airport staff person in charge of contracts at Baiyun said earlier in the week that bids for the new terminal had closed but that she could not release a list of winners.
Several listed companies will likely supply construction at the new terminal. In August, construction crews using Hitachi (HTHIY) equipment were digging holes on the terminal site, a moonscape covered with piles of earth and temporary worker housing. If clues from the existing terminals hold true, the new one will use lifts by Otis Elevator, a subsidiary of United Technologies (UTX) .
In another plus for foreign companies, foreign brands that make money from airport stores could sell in the new terminal. Vendors in the old terminal today include L'Occitane International (LCCTF) and Sanrio (SNROF) .
China usually picks its own companies as designers and builders of basic infrastructure. Foreign firms would find it hard to compete on cost, said Fei Kwok, partner with the Norton Rose Fulbright law firm in Shanghai.
"For basic engineering and preparation work, I think the foreign contractor has no advantage because the price is higher," she said.