Business / Economy

Chinese firm eyes Indian rail projects

By DU JUAN in Mumbai, India (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-03 01:18

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Chinese and Indian companies are working on a joint bid for five high-speed railway projects in India as the South Asian country is speeding up economic development under its new leadership.

The Indian government will soon open the projects for public bidding and Tata Projects, one of the fastest growing infrastructure companies in India, is in discussions with an undisclosed Chinese company that owns the advanced technology used in the bid, said Vinayak Deshpande, managing director of Tata Projects.

Industrial insiders believe the potential partner would be one of China's major rail companies, CSR Corp or CNR Corp, though neither company would confirm they were part of the bid.

Deshpande said Tata Projects previously cooperated with CSR on a train project in Navi Mumbai.

"We like to use China's technology and products because they are proven to be reliable and the cost is relatively low," Deshpande said.

He said the Indian government plans to complete the high-speed railway projects in the following five years.

"When the new prime minister, Narendra Modi, said India will make great efforts on railway construction and urban infrastructure, it brings big opportunities for Chinese companies," Deshpande said.

During his ongoing visit to Japan, Modi also sent welcome messages to Japanese businessmen for their participation in Indian infrastructure projects including smart cities, high-speed railways, subways, airports and highways, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

Deshpande said that although Chinese companies face competition from counterparts from Japan and Europe, they have advantages in rich experience and lower cost in the high-speed railway sector.

Feng Hao, a researcher at the Institute of Comprehensive Transportation at the National Development and Reform Commission, said India has been advancing high-speed railway projects to improve transportation, as it is keen to be part of the Bangladesh-India-Myanmar-China economic corridor and to upgrade the service level of its public transportation.

"This indicates that having an efficient and fast railway network is critical for India to reach all its goals," Feng said.

"China's Yunnan province is the gateway to South Asia and geographically close to West Bangladesh, and has a lot of potential to enhance business cooperation and tourism exchanges with East India," Feng said.

India has one of the longest rail networks in the world but does not have railroads with speeds of over 200 kilometers per hour.

"As the China high-speed railway network grows, choosing Chinese technologies and products should be beneficial to a developing nation such as India or Turkey, because it offers competitive prices and timely after-sale services."

More projects

Tata has also cooperated with Shougang Group and Sinosteel Corp, two major Chinese steel companies, on a steel plant in eastern India.

Madhu Kannan, a member of Tata Group's executive council, said China is becoming an important source for Tata.

"The group, is also looking forward to working with Chinese companies in many other sectors," he said. "The business cooperation will strengthen the friendship between China and India."

Premier Li Keqiang paid a visit to Tata Consultancy Services last year, which boosted interaction in the IT sector between the two countries.

Zhong Nan contributed to this story. 

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