Germany's national rail company is opening a purchasing office in China, where it hopes to start buying replacement parts for its trains within a few years - though most of its shopping will still be done in Europe.
Deutsche Bahn announced plans on Tuesday to broaden its supply chain to include more Chinese manufacturers, although the state-owned concern said the procurement of full trains in the Communist-led country was a long way off.
Uwe Günther, Deutsche Bahn's chief procurement officer, said Chinese companies had become more competitive and so his company wanted to explore the possibility of buying more replacement parts that had been made in China.
"We're assuming that by 2017, Chinese companies will be ready to take part in bidding processes for the production of components, such as wheels or wheelsets," Günther said.
On Nov. 24, Deutsche Bahn will open a purchasing office in Shanghai, which will initially be staffed by three employees. But for now, the German rail operator has no plans to buy entire locomotives or railway carriages in the Communist-led country.
"The purchase of trains is a far-off possibility and a demanding challenge for Chinese companies," Günther added.
Deutsche Bahn currently has a spending budget of around 10 billion euros ($10.7 billion), 85 percent of which it allocates to German and European markets. Siemens, the German engineering giant, is one of Deutsche Bahn's biggest suppliers.
The next generation of high-speed intercity trains, known as ICx, for instance, have already been ordered from Siemens and are due to be delivered in 2017.
cjc/hg (dpa, Reuters)