Japan and China have a big dispute as to which country dominates the technology of building ultra-fast and levitating trains. As a “trophy”, the winner will be able to serve a global market estimated at US $ 2 trillion.
Available for short distances, magnetic levitation trains – or maglev – use magnets to slide on the tracks super fast and without friction. Asian powers are now investing in the creation of long-distance intercity lines.
In Japan, the Central Japan Railway Co. invests 9 trillion yen (about $ 86 billion) in the construction of the maglev that will link the cities of Tokyo and Osaka. With high value due to the excavation, the expectation is that the project will be ready by 2037.
On the other hand, the Chinese ultra-fast train project is estimated at 100 billion yuan (US $ 15 billion). Despite initial delays, the line that will connect Shanghai to the port city of Ningbo is expected to be completed in 2035.
Experts point out that the Asian country that delivers the first long-distance transport project will have the advantage of exporting the technology. As a result, local governments have allocated millions of dollars to both projects.
“Maglev technology has enormous export potential. Therefore, domestic projects in China and Japan are like showcases to the world, ”says Christopher Hood, a professor at Cardiff University, to the Japan Times portal.
He stresses that, despite the Japanese tradition of bullet trains, China develops cheaper projects. Thus, the Chinese have already surpassed rivals on some occasions, such as in the construction of the high-speed railway that links Jakarta to Bandung in Indonesia.
“There is a feeling that in the technological world, Japan is falling further behind China,” reports Hood. “So, if they can complete this technology first, it will be a matter of immense national pride.”