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BYD to start mass transit trial in Egypt

By Chai Hua in Shenzhen | China Daily Europe | Updated: 2017-10-29 14:25

Electric vehicle maker BYD Co Ltd is planning to start trial runs of its SkyRail monorail mass transit solution in Egypt soon, making it the second overseas destination for the Chinese company after the Philippines.

Demand for mass transit systems has been increasing in Egypt and the Philippines - key markets in the China-led Belt and Road Initiative.

BYD officials say the company is confident of further cooperation with these countries in the future.

The transportation authority of Alexandria, Egypt's second-largest city, signed a memorandum of understanding with BYD for the project on Oct 21 that envisions a monorail project spanning 128 kilometers. This marks the first time that SkyRail is being showcased on the African continent.

Alexandria is beset by frequent traffic jams. In 2013, local authorities began exploring options to relieve the transportation pressure.

"BYD's SkyRail is a clean, affordable and safe way for people to commute. It also utilizes limited road space in towns and cities while minimizing disruption to local communities," says A.D. Huang, general manager of BYD Middle East and Africa Auto Sales Division.

Thirteen years ago, the carmaker started the manufacture and sales of passenger vehicles in Egypt. Nearly a third of the taxis in Cairo are made by BYD.

Khaled Eleiwa, chairman of the Alexandria Passenger Transportation Authority, says he expects the SkyRail to start operations in the seaport city as soon as possible.

Unlike subways, BYD's SkyRail requires only one-fifth of the cost and one-third of the construction time, according to the company.

One system is currently operating in Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

The monorail business is now one of BYD's four key sectors, which also include cars, mobile phone components and batteries. According to Securities Times, BYD has received intent orders from 10 cities so far.

Wang Liusheng, chief analyst for the automobile industry at CSM Securities, says he expects BYD's monorail operations to realize profits and generate income this year.

But he says the profits will be minuscule for now, and it will be difficult to gauge whether they will grow according to market expectations in the future.

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