China started exploitation of a bullet train that can reach speeds of 600 kilometers per hour (373 miles per hour). It has made its debut in Qingdao. The world’s fastest train is named „maglev”, an abbreviation of “magnetic levitation.” The train appears to be “floating” thanks to an electromagnetic force that sends it gliding above the tracks. Liang Jianying, deputy general manager and chief engineer of CRRC Sifang, told Chinese state media that in addition to its speed, the train emits low levels of noise pollution and requires less maintenance than other high-speed trains. High-speed rail is a major priority in China, which aims to connect more of its large cities by train. By 2020, 75% of Chinese cities with a population of 500,000 or more had a high-speed rail link. “The building of these new railways forms part of Xi Jinping’s grand plan of ‘integrating the vast national market,'” says Dr. Olivia Cheung, research fellow at the China Institute of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
China initially relied on high-speed technology imported from Europe and Japan to establish its network. Local companies are now the leaders. Construction of the 815-kilometer, $13.5 billion Zhengzhou East-Wangzhou line was completed in less than five years. Chinese companies are among the first in the world to introduce new technology such as autonomous (driverless) train operation and advanced signaling and control technology. “China’s high-speed rail industry has become one of the nation’s economic pillar industries and the high-speed network has brought greater mobility and prosperity to the public,” said president of Bombardier Transportation China, Jianwei Zhang, in a 2020 statement.