High-speed rail will set the pace in Turkey (2)

08:28, July 13, 2011      

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Springboard to Europe

Despite those challenges, Zheng said the 158-km project is very significant for the company and the development of Chinese high-speed rail overseas. "We consider it a springboard to enter the European market."

And it will produce "zero" financial profit for his company, he said.

But Zheng, who has spent more than a decade building railways abroad, also said China should take a measured pace in trying to push its technology into the European market.

Take Bulgaria, for example. Alexander Tsvetkov, then Bulgaria's minister of transport, announced in early November that Sofia had been invited to join the project for high-speed rail from China through Turkey and Bulgaria to central and western Europe.

Zheng admitted his company hopes to extend its business to Bulgaria, but he said it's still too early for a concrete plan or project.

"I think it's better to be slow," he said. "It's a fresh market, and there are many rules in the European market. Like in Turkey, I still cannot say I understand everything, though we began here in 2004."

Some European high-speed rails have noticed China's designs on the European market. "China is about to rise to a true global competitor," said Alexander Machowetz, a spokesman for Siemens Industry Sector in Germany.

Machowetz said Siemens "acknowledges the ambitious goals of the Chinese manufacturers in the international markets", but he also said his company has been "very successful" as a supplier of high-speed rail technology in the Chinese market over the past few years.

"International competition and cooperation in project-based partnerships" are common in railway projects, he said, but "Siemens has proven its ability to cope with competition of any kind".
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