SHANGHAI, July 1 (Reuters) - China began testing the first bullet train completely made from locally produced parts this week, the official People’s Daily newspaper said on Wednesday, as part of a big government-led push to export railway technology.
China is competing with Germany’s Siemens AG, Canada’s Bombardier Inc and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd for global rail contracts - the same companies that helped it build a high-speed rail network that is now the world’s longest at 16,000 kilometres.
China is also home to the world’s largest train maker by sales, CRRC Corp Ltd , which was formed when the government merged its two biggest train makers in June.
“The new train, with our full intellectual property rights, will facilitate our efforts to export China’s railway products and technologies,” the newspaper quoted He Huawu, chief engineer of railway operator China Railway Corp, as saying.
Foreign firms currently supply some of the parts that go into Chinese-made bullet trains, such as traction systems, analysts say.
The Chinese prototypes that are made from all-local parts have an operational speed of 350 km/hour and a top speed of 400 km/hour and, if successful, the trains will gradually replace older models currently in use, the paper added.
Earlier this year, a $3.75 billion tender that was initially won by a Chinese consortium to build tracks and supply bullet trains to Mexico was scrapped by the Mexican government. (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Miral Fahmy)