Germany, China at impasse on Maglev train line
Updated: 2006-05-23 20:04
Germany wants to show the world it can build economically viable high-speed
trains using decades-old magnetic levitation technology, which allows for travel
at speeds of more than 400 km per hour (240 mph).
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) toasts
German Chancellor Angela Merkel after their meeting at the Great Hall of the
People in Beijing May 22, 2006. [Reuters]
China has shown a willingness to embrace the technology, announcing plans to
build a $4.3 billion, 200-km (124 miles) track connecting Shanghai to the city
of Hangzhou in time for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
But the plan remained stuck in the station on Tuesday, despite a push to
conclude an agreement during a brief visit to Shanghai by German Chancellor
Many believe that technology transfers lie at the heart of the impasse, with
China wanting Germany's Siemens and ThyssenKrupp , which pioneered the
technology, to transfer more of their know-how to China in exchange for big
The Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday a "consensus" had been reached on
technology transfer and other key issues surrounding the 4 billion euro ($5.15
billion) project, using the technology known to many as Maglev.
But a Siemens spokeswoman and sources close to the deal told Reuters no deal
had been reached.
"Negotiations are still going on, and we are quite happy with how it's
going," the Siemens spokeswoman said. "So far there is no agreement and no
China is now home to the world's only commercially operational Maglev line, a
$1 billion-plus project connecting the city's downtown area with its
A consortium including Siemens and ThyssenKrupp helped the city construct the
line, which opened in early 2004. But the rail, which has become a sort of
tourist attraction, has been slow to catch on among the broader populace largely
due to its poor location.