Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Translation Tuesday: Chinese High-Speed Rail: Go Overseas and Share the Benefits with the World

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Qi Zhongxi, Fan Xi, Liu Shiping, Su Xiaozhou, Chu Xiaoliang, Yang Jian, Wu Hao
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 01/26/2015
Source: Xinhua News Agency
Original text (in Chinese):

From the “promotion” of Chinese leaders during overseas visits to business development, Chinese high-speed rail (HSR) is accelerating “going overseas.” The cooperation between Chinese HSR and foreign companies can not only build more advanced transportation facilities but also bring the benefits of HSR to various countries around the world.

“Now I have dozes of overseas projects to follow up simultaneously, including Laos, Thailand, the U.S., Russia, Hungary-Serbia, Morocco, etc. while also tracking an HSR project in India,” said Chen Juemin, Director of China Railway Corporation’s International Cooperation Department.

In Asia and the surrounding region, China is planning to build a major corridor throughout Southeast Asia reaching Malaysia and Singapore in order to serve the “One Belt, One Road” strategy, as well as HSRs bridging Central Asia and Europe in the Silk Road Economic Belt. In Africa, China’s “steel dragon” will link together multiple countries. In Europe, Chinese railway companies have just started to reveal their excellence. In America, Chinese HSR projects are expected to breakthrough in their contract bidding.
Chen Juemin stated that Chinese HSRs expand astride a variety of terrains and climates on the vast territory with a span of 5000 kilometers from east to west, or from north to south. Its total mileage reaches 16,000 kilometers, which exceeds half of the total HSR mileage in the world.

No matter which country’s delegations come to visit and negotiate with China Railway Corporation, Chen Juemin will always take them to the National Railway Dispatch and Command Center. Once they have a look at the big screen, they all know what they are looking for immediately.

Currently, China has the largest amount of high-speed trains in the world, which is more than 1,300; the most complete varieties of trains, whose speeds range from 200 km/h to 380 km/h; and also the most experienced crews, whose cumulative operating mileage is approximately 1.6 billion kilometers.

“The biggest advantages of Chinese railway facilities are its impressive cost performance and strong delivery capability,” said Xu Zongxiang, who is in charge of overseas business as the Vice President of CSR Corporation Ltd.

According to global HSR development plans, by 2020, the world's HSR total mileage will reach 50,000 kilometers, which will bring nearly $1.1 trillion of direct investment.

“The international market outlook for HSR is very good, but there is still a certain transition from expectation to reality. Chinese enterprises must have the patience to wait,” suggested by Jiang Zaiqiu, Chairman of China Railway Siyuan Survey and Design Group Co., Ltd.

On the one hand, the competitiveness from other countries’ HSR companies should not be underestimated. On the other hand, the world economy is still recovering from the global financial crisis.

Ding Sansan, Chief Technologist of CSR Corporation Ltd., pointed out: “the international market is not exclusive to Chinese enterprises. If we want to cut a slice of cake, we must confront the competition from other multinational companies on the level of resources, talent, standards, brand image, etc., and we may also encounter protectionism. We must (1) have an abundant international talent pool, (2) develop high-quality products, (3) consistently explore new business models, and (4) enhance the operational capability to run our business internationally.”

The cooperation between Chinese HSR and foreign companies can not only build more advanced and convenient transportation facilities, but also bring the benefits of HSR to varied countries around the world.

“If this line (not clear in the original text, but it is assumed to be the Kunming–Singapore Railway that connects Kunming and Bangkok – translator) is well constructed and can operate at low costs, we shall discuss how to cooperate in the next lines. We need this railway to be done as soon as possible, so we can connect to Laos and Cambodia as the transportation hub of the ASEAN region,” said Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as he was riding Beijing-Tianjin intercity high-speed rail during this visit to Beijing.

Improving connectivity can also lead to a mutually beneficial and win-win outcomes. “Take Nigeria's coastal railway as an example. On one hand, it can drive nearly $4 billion of Chinese equipment exports. On the other hand, it can also provide approximately 50,000 direct jobs and 150,000 indirect jobs for Nigeria, in addition to the 20,000 to 30,000 fixed jobs during operation,” said Meng Fengchao, Chairman of China Railway Construction Corporation.

Chinese overseas railway projects promotes local economic development. After the completion of Angola-Benguela Railway, Francisco Cambango, the Vice-Governor of Moxico Province, which is along the line, expressed that the reconstruction of this railway brought new hope for the locals.

Prior to the railway operation, cargo were shipped by trucks from Luanda, the capital of Angola, to Moxico Province. With a distance of over 1,300 kilometers, the shipping fee was as high as $15,000 dollars for 30 ton of goods ($500 per ton). Now with the railway, the fee is only $45 to $60 per ton.

Chinese HSR’s “going out” also drives local technological and industrial upgrades. While a further agreement on China-Thailand railway construction is about to be reached, the China-Thailand HSR Joint Research Center will be established soon. Its major focuses include HSR technology research and development, testing and certification, simulations, technician training, etc. In last December, China CNR Corporation Ltd. established a joint venture with an Indian counterpart in New Delhi, which means the most advanced Chinese technology – railway traction motor technology – will be produced locally in India.

The continuously extending railways may bring more “Butterfly Effects”. The existing Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway and the under-construction Chongqing-Lanzhou Railway will connect inland and northwest China. Experts believe that the economic landscape will be changed in the future if HSR can extend westward all the way through Eurasia.

Gao Bai (a Duke Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Center for China's HSR Development Strategy – translator) noted that in the past 30 years, China, as the world's factory, has been exporting countless products into the international market, but most of the goods still remain at a low-end level. As a revolutionary mode of transportation, HSR will have long-lasting impact on China as well as the world.

About Xinhua News Agency (http://www.xinhuanet.com/)
"Xinhua News Agency is the state press agency of the People's Republic of China. Xinhua is a ministry- level department subordinate to the State Council. It operates 107 foreign bureaus worldwide, and maintains 31 bureaus in China—one for each province, plus a military bureau. Xinhua is the sole channel for the distribution of important news related to the Communist Party and Chinese central government." (Wikipedia)

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