SHANGHAI: A German consortium including Siemens AG is close to acquiring
final approval from Chinese authorities to apply its technology to the extended
magnetic-levitation (maglev) train line to be built in the city, a visiting
senior German official said yesterday.
Christian Wulff, an official of the state of Lower Saxony, or Niedersachsen
in German, said Transrapid International has received "many green lights" from
the municipal government for the construction of the extended line for the
world's only maglev train in commercial use, pending final approval from the
"We have done a lot to bring about the extended maglev line. But time is now
tight and we hope we can finish the new link to Hongqiao Airport before 2010,"
The extended line will include a stop at the 2010 World Expo, which runs from
May 1 to October 31, 2010, and is expected to attract some 70 million people
from around the world, Wulff said.
Launched in 2003 and using German technology, the current maglev train rides
on a 30-km-long magnetic cushion between suburban Shanghai and its international
airport in Pudong New Area. It is part of the much discussed maglev system
linking the country's financial hub and Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang
"German maglev technology is the most advanced in the world," Wulff said.
"The current section between Pudong airport and Longyang subway station is
highly successful and has already served 10 million passengers."
Heading a delegation of about 20 members, Wulff arrived in Shanghai on Monday
night and lobbied Mayor Han Zheng yesterday to open a Lower Saxony
representative office in the city.
"Companies from Niedersachsen realized the implications of globalization some
time ago and are already active in the booming markets of the future," he said.
As of last year, the state, located in the northwestern part of Germany and
with a population of eight million, had invested 6 billion euros in China, and
exported 1.1 billion euros worth of goods to the rising Asian power.
As part of its efforts to intensify activities in China, NORD/LB, a major
bank in northern Germany, which set up a branch in Shanghai in 2004, is applying
for a local currency license.
Hannes Rehm, chairman of the bank's board of management, said: "It's a
continuation of our successful strategy in China."
Wulff said he was also looking to lobby the municipal
government to develop further cooperation with the city on shipping and
exhibition affairs, as well as establishing a direct flight between Shanghai and
Hanover, his state's capital.