Shinkansen bullet trains are parked at a train yard in Tokyo, Japan. (Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)

Bullet Train in India a `New Challenge,' Hitachi Chairman Says

(Bloomberg) -- Hitachi Ltd., the diversified Japanese conglomerate, said it’s seeking to double sales in the South Asian region where the company’s “most important project” is India’s first bullet-train line.

“This is a new challenge,” Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi, 71, said in an interview with Haslinda Amin in Davos. “India’s government has requested to us to make various local manufacturing capabilities. That’s a big challenge for us.”

Japan’s success in India came last year after its government and rail companies had lobbied the U.S. for years to sell their bullet-train technology and found little success. The South Asian country is poised to become the first nation to import the iconic ‘Shinkansen’ bullet-train technology after Japan’s near-neighbor Taiwan, and that will be a highlight of India’s infrastructure upgrade program.

The Japanese government has also agreed to fund most of the $17 billion needed for the project that will become part of Asia’s oldest railway network.

Last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan’s Shinzo Abe formally kicked off a plan to build the 316-mile bullet train line -- roughly the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Financing by Japan also means business farmed out to companies such as Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Hitachi and East Japan Railway Co. and an opportunity lost for China’s CRRC Corp Ltd. and European manufacturers including Alstom SA.

Hitachi shares rose 0.8 percent to their highest level in almost 11 years in Tokyo, giving the company a market value of $41 billion.

“Hitachi is likely to aggressively pursue overseas deals and partnerships to burnish its image as a premier solutions provider,” Bloomberg Intelligence analysts Nikkie Lu and Ashley Kim wrote in October.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

Bloomberg
Stay Updated With latest Davos 2018 News on BloombergQuint