China And Central Japan Railway At An Impasse

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China’s reputation for lax intellectual property and technology rights protection is taking another hit, this time in the bullet train category. Central Japan Railway recently announced it would not sell its trains to China due to fears its bullet train technology would be illegally copied there.

Central Japan Railway claims China has already copied Japanese bullet train technology, and has done so in an unsafe way. In a BusinessWeek report, Central Japan Railway spokesman Soushi Hasegawa said, “There’s some uneasiness that China might take our intellectual property… We’re not thinking of marketing our trains in China.” 

China has rejected these accusations.[more]

China’s effort to link Beijing to Europe by high-speed train within the next ten years is the hallmark of ambitious domestic railway expansion plans. This year alone the government has earmarked US$103 billion for railway expansion, and much of this money will be allocated to high-speed railway development between cities. For Central Japan Railway, missing out on this rapidly expanding and lucrative market in China must certainly hurt, yet underscores the serious concerns Central Japan Railway has regarding selling its technology to China.

The contentious relationship between China and Central Japan Railway will only heat up, however, as they contend for projects in the US, especially a railway linking Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

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