High-speed rail to use local technology
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-03-09 06:09
Foreign technology will not be used to build the high-speed rail link between
Beijing and Shanghai, it was announced yesterday.
"We have already reached a consensus on the issue: the
high-speed railway line will be fully based on our own technology," Minister of
Railways Liu Zhijun told China Daily.
leviation rail line in Shanghai.
"We are confident and capable of completing the railway through the efforts
of our engineers and technicians."
The minister did not specify what technology would be used but stressed "our
technology is a re-innovation on the basis of assimilating advanced technologies
of foreign countries."
He disclosed that the project may start as early as the end of this year
after securing approval from the State Council, China's cabinet.
Liu made the remarks on the sidelines of the ongoing annual session of the
National People's Congress, the top legislature.
It is the first time that a high-ranking Chinese official has specifically
ruled out the use of foreign technologies in building the 1,300-kilometre
The 200-billion-yuan (US$24.7 billion) project was first proposed in 1994 and
originally scheduled for completion before the beginning of the 2008 Olympic
Games in Beijing or the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
The express railway designed for a speed of up to 300 kilometres per hour is
expected to shorten travel time between the two cities from 13 hours to less
But debate over the controversial technological issue has delayed the
project, especially after it triggered a white-hot bidding war among Japanese,
German and French companies.
Japan has been lobbying China to use its Shinkansen bullet train technology
while France has been pitching its TGV high-speed transport system.
For its part, Germany has been pushing for the use of its magnetic levitation
train technology or maglev which is already being used on a 30-kilometre route
in Shanghai, the world's first such railway line in commercial operation.
China is a lucrative market for foreign companies since the country plans to
build a 5,400-kilometre high-speed railway network with an investment of more
than 1,000 billion yuan (US$124 billion) between 2006 and 2010.
Liu suggested the use of Chinese technology in the project was decided by the
central government, which has unveiled plans to build China into an innovative
nation in the next 15 years.
"The State Council is particularly interested in the technology issue," he
said. "We have acted in line with State policy."
Analysts said China's decision is partly in response to concerns about
reliance on overseas technology.
In early 2005, the Science & Technology Daily published a lengthy report
questioning the Railways Ministry's strategy of relying on high-speed railway
technologies imported at a high cost.
"Foreign companies will never give us up-to-date technologies," the report
said, adding that the failure to build technological capability would eventually
be at the cost of China's own technological innovation and the market.
Yesterday, Liu said the Beijing-Shanghai express railway project has been
authorized by the central government and listed as one of the key transportation
projects in the country's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10).
The feasibility study report for the project will soon be submitted to the
State Council for approval, he said.
The minister said China plans to build 19,800 kilometres of railways and
rebuild 23,000 kilometres by 2010 to ease mounting pressure on its rail
One of the key projects is a planned inter-city railway
system in the Yangtze River Delta linking Shanghai with almost all major cities
in neighbouring Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in East