Chinese Consortium Signs $400 million Train Deal in Malaysia in Run-Up to Strategic High-Speed Rail Tender

On August 4, China Railway Rolling Stock and China Railway Resources signed a $400 million deal with the Malaysian National Infrastructure Corporation for the supply of 42 unmanned trains.  Of the 42 six-car train-sets, 40 will be built at CRRC’s plant in Malaysia.  The trains will be utilized on the 37-km commuter line linking Kuala Lumpur to Klang, Shah Alam, and Petaling Jaya.

The deal comes amid intensifying competition for contracts in both Malaysia and the wider Southeast Asian region, but most notably in advance of the tender expected later this year for the High-Speed Rail project linking Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.  The bidding process for the multi-billion-dollar Bandar Malaysia property development project — that will house the terminus station for the HSR project — has also seen seen a flurry of activity, as it is pieced back together following the decision by Malaysia to pull out of the previous deal with a consortium involving China Railway Engineering Corporation bids.  That process was, according to reports, marked by accusations of Chinese companies seeking to leverage past investment for favorable treatment on the HSR project.

While the per-car cost of the China Railway deal equals $1.59 million, China’s willingness to deliver top-end technology to Malaysia (with this system only going into service in China in 2016) may represent a deal-sweetener ahead of the reopening of the aforementioned bids.