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China's high-speed rail sector looks abroad for growth

  • Liao Kuei-ju and Staff Reporter
  • 2013-01-06
  • 08:52 (GMT+8)
A high-speed train departing Zhengzhou, bound for Beijing. (Photo/Xinhua)

A high-speed train departing Zhengzhou, bound for Beijing. (Photo/Xinhua)

To coincide with the birthday commemoration of revolutionary Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong on Dec. 26, China unveiled the newest and longest line in it's ever-expanding high-speed rail network: the Beijing-Guangzhou link, the latest milestone in the country's rapid super fast rail network.

The opening of the 2298 kilometer line between the capital and Guangzhou will cut the travel time between the two cities from 22 hours to just eight, with bullet trains traveling at 300 km per hour. The journey will take passengers through six provinces, 28 cities, 35 stops in major cities such as Zhenzhou, Wuhan and Chengsha, providing rapid rail service to 400 million people in the country's heartland.

The line will also see 33 cargo trains each day; annual cargo capacity is expected to reach around 88 million tonnes, five times the amount last year.

The main rolling stock to be used on the new line was developed by the state-owned China CNR Corp. China plans to export high-speed rail technology worldwide.

The country's domestic network, while a symbol of its emergence as the world's second largest economy, is now seeking to capitalize on its expansion into foreign markets such as Turkey, Venezuela and Turkmenistan, with ambitions further a field.

Currently, 80% of rail vehicles running in Turkmenistan are made in China, which accounts for 90% of its passenger capacity and 70% of its freight volume. In Uzbekistan's, Chinese trains account for 40% of passenger capacity and 30% of freight rail.

In Malaysia, the 228 high-speed trains bought from China helped Kuala Lumpur's railway network operator shorten some journeys from 30 minutes to 7.5 minutes.

China hopes the price of its technology will win it an audience in emerging nations, where trains and track from European, Korean and Japanese companies are comparatively expensive. For example, China's high-speed train cost US$24 million per km of line; Germany's high-speed train cost US$48 million per km; and Korea's is around US$40 million per km.

Who's Who

  • Yi Jun (易軍)

    Yi Jun (易軍)

    Yi Jun became chairman of China State Construction International in 2002. A native of Sichuan province, he was born in 1951 and graduated from ...