It’s profit over politics at China’s state-run rail giant, chairman says

Making money — not following political directives — is the top priority for Chinese state-owned train giant CRRC, its chairman claimed this week.

“As an enterprise, CRRC seeks profits. So when we look at the orders, we first assess our interest, the other things come later,” Liu Hualong, the company’s chair, said in Mandarin.

Considerations about Chinese soft power and global political influence “do exist in our agenda, but our ultimate goal is always the benefit when adjusting ourselves to the market,” Liu told CNBC at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Liu was specifically addressing concerns about China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to connect Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa with a vast logistics and transport network, using roads, ports, railway tracks, pipelines, airports, transnational electric grids and even fiber optic lines. The plan, which continues to evolve, at one point included 65 countries, which together accounted for one-third of global GDP and…

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