China CNR, one of the country's top trainmakers, said it was interested in buying foreign rail-linked technologies as China seeks to export its high-speed trains and rail expertise. "We are interested in rail-related technologies and have been in touch with some foreign companies," the state-backed firm's vice-president in-charge of overseas business, Yu Weiping, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Yu, who was speaking during a government-organised visit to one of CNR's factories in Tangshan city in north-eastern China, declined to comment further. His remarks underline China's ambitions to become an exporter of high-speed rail technology able to compete with the likes of Germany's Siemens and Canada's Bombardier. The government has encouraged its firms to chase overseas deals and promised interested countries robust financing support from its policy banks.
In December, CNR and rival CSR Corp said they planned to merge to create a $26 billion company to further the high-speed rail push. The Export-Import Bank of China's deputy general manager of the business division, Li Wen, said during the visit that at the end of January this year the bank had provided $13 billion in loans to 35 overseas rail construction and equipment export projects. CNR, whose overseas sales amounted to $3 billion last year, said China was in talks with 28 countries, including the United States and India, on high-speed projects. Yu said projects in Russia and Thailand were "moving faster than the others."
China built the world's longest high-speed network in less than a decade but it has suffered a number of setbacks, including a train crash in 2011 near the city of Wenzhou that killed 35 people and led to an overhaul of the railway ministry. Yu said he did not expect the incident to have a lasting impact on the current export campaign.