Sleek, silvery and ready to fly, Shanghai's 430kph magnetic-levitation train began its daily commercial operation yesterdayday, shooting out of its station amid high hopes for better -- and much more expensive -- commuting. \nThe opening came a year and a day after German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder visited Shanghai for the maiden voyage of the German-built project. \nThe first train yesterday pulled out at 8:32am from Longyang Station with 10 passengers aboard for the 7-minute, 20-second whoosh of a journey -- 30 kilometers to Pudong International Airport. \nThe price of an economy seat is 75 yuan (about US$9), and VIP seats cost 150 yuan (about US$18). Trains will run every 20 minutes daily. \nSecurity guards stood by at the entrance. Passengers were required to go through airport-style security to board. Digital signs monitored the speed for passengers. \nBased on German technology, the US$1.2-billion train connects Shanghai to its 3-year-old airport, the city's second. \nThe system underwent nearly a year of testing since it made an inaugural experimental run on Dec. 31, 2002, carrying Schroeder and former Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji. More than 200,000 people have ridden the train in weekend test runs since then. \nGerman companies spent decades and billions of dollars developing maglev technology, but had searched in vain for a customer until Shanghai leaders picked the system as a way to highlight the city's high-tech ambitions. \nSome have criticized it as an expensive prestige project with limited usefulness.
The US and the EU were yesterday to announce a joint effort aimed at identifying semiconductor supply disruptions as well as countering Russian disinformation, officials said. Top US officials are visiting the French scientific hub of Saclay for a meetup of the Trade and Technology Council, created last year as China increasingly exerts its technology clout. US officials acknowledged that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has broadened the council’s scope, but said the Western bloc still has its eye on competition from China. The two sides will announce an “early warning system” for semiconductors supply disruptions, hoping to avoid excessive competition between Western powers
Hotai Motor Co (和泰汽車), which distributes Toyota and Lexus vehicles in Taiwan, yesterday introduced Toyota Motor Corp’s first all-electric sports utility vehicle (SUV), the bZ4X, joining rivals in vying for a share of the nation’s fast-growing electric vehicle market. Starting today, the bZ4X, with a price tag of NT$1.599 million (US$53,780), would be available for online purchase only and customers need to download a special app to place orders, Hotai said. Hotai has received 300 of the electric SUVs, it said, adding that it is not enough to meet robust market demand. A total of 229 electric vehicles were sold in the
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) has made further progress in its expansion into semiconductor manufacturing as its subsidiary teams up with Dagang NeXchange Bhd (DNeX) to build a 12-inch wafer fab in Malaysia. Big Innovation Holdings Ltd (BIH), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hon Hai, has inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with DNeX to collaborate on establishing and operating the semiconductor fab in the Southeastern Asian country, it said in a statement released by DNeX on its Web site. The fab is expected to produce 40,000 12-inch wafers per month, deploying 28-nanometer and 40-nanometer process technologies, the statement said. Under
BUYERS BATTLING: While China Steel expects demand to rise in the second half, the World Steel Association reduced its global demand forecast to 0.4% annual growth China Steel Corp (中鋼), the nation’s largest steelmaker, yesterday said it would cut domestic steel prices by 2.1 percent on average for delivery next month in response to a brief slowdown in steel demand and to help customers mitigate mounting manufacturing costs caused by geopolitical issues. However, the company said it expects steel demand to pick up in the second half of the year, benefiting from infrastructure programs in China, as lockdowns there could gradually be lifted later this year, as well as post-war reconstruction projects, if Russia’s war in Ukraine stabilizes. The Kaohsiung-based company’s move matches its Chinese counterparts’ recent