Maglev extension given 'green light'

By Wang Zhenghua (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-05-09 07:01

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 State Council.

"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," Wulff said.

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 Province.

"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.

Top China News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours