After building China's railways, giant CRCC flexes muscles abroad

Wed Dec 3, 2014 4:00pm EST
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* China's rail giant CRCC snaps up overseas deals

* With state support, company pushes "rail diplomacy"

* Western firms fear Beijing backing could help win deals

By Brenda Goh

SHANGHAI, Dec 4 (Reuters) - It will take more than the abrupt cancellation of a high-speed train deal with Mexico to derail China Railway Construction Corp's ambitions to become a global force in transport projects and take on the likes of Siemens, Alstom and Bombardier.

State-owned CRCC and its partners will bid again for the $3.75 billion project, despite saying it was "exceptionally shocked" by Mexico's reversal following objections from opposition lawmakers angered the bid was uncontested.

About two weeks after the cancellation, CRCC announced it had signed a $12 billion contract to build a railway along the coast of Nigeria, part of a concerted effort to secure business abroad and push China's so-called "railroad diplomacy".

It was the largest single overseas construction deal won by a Chinese firm.

Executives at established players including Germany's Siemens see CRCC as a powerful new competitor. A company insider at Siemens also said he believed the Chinese firm received state aid.   Continued...