An attendant looks out a train station in Guanling, Guizhou province. Guanlin is one of the stations on the Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway. (Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily)
Railway operator says it welcomes further input from e-commerce giant
China Railway Corp, the world's biggest railway operator by rail length, said it hopes to deepen its existing business relationship with e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd in pushing forward its mixed ownership reform.
General Manager Lu Dongfu said CRC is promoting the asset-backed securitization and equity financing of the railways sector and welcomed Alibaba's participation, without providing further details.
Lu said he hoped the two sides could deepen cooperation in areas such as high-speed railways, international logistics, electronic payments and mixed ownership reform－on the basis of consolidating the application of Alipay (the digital wallet run by Alibaba), information verification services and station navigation.
Lu said he expected the partners will work together to realize the integration of the high-speed rail network with the internet, build up intelligent railway systems through an innovation cooperation model, as well as make full use of each other's resources to promote the supply-side structural reform.
Jack Ma, founder and chairman of Alibaba, said his group is willing to further deepen relations with the national railway operator. He said Alibaba will combine its technical strengths in big data, cloud computing and e-commerce services with the capital and resources of CRC, to build a new business and operations model.
Ma added that Alibaba will push forward e-commerce service pilots related to high-speed rail, and organize the sources of goods and expand overseas market for CRC's China-Europe freight train.
By the end of 2016, China had a 124,000-kilometer-long railway system, featuring the world's largest high-speed rail network with more than 20,000 km of track.
The railway has been selected as one of the seven sectors for mixed ownership reform of State-owned enterprises this year.
Other sectors include the power, energy, civil aviation, telecommunications and the defense sectors, said the National Development and Reform Commission.
Lu said in January that CRC will carry out a mixed ownership reform this year, and work with both private and State-owned companies to form joint ventures to support the reform.
"Alibaba has great potential in mobile payment sector through cooperation with CRC to participate in the construction of an electronic ticket selling system," said Lu Zhenwang, an internet veteran and CEO of Shanghai-based Wanqing Consultancy.