JAKARTA (TNO) Chinese and Indonesian state-owned companies on Friday(Oct 16) signed a US$5.5 billion deal to build the first high-speed railway in Southeast Asia’s top economy, after Beijing beat Tokyo to win the construction project.
The line will connect the Indonesian capital Jakarta with the mountain-fringed city of Bandung, some 160 kilometres away, and is a key part of President Joko Widodo’s plans to overhaul the archipelago’s infrastructure and attract investors.Japan was long expected to build the railway but China entered the contest earlier this year, and Tokyo’s bid was rejected last month after a chaotic bidding process that infuriated the Japanese.
On Friday, the chairman of state-owned China Railway International, Yang Zhongmin, signed a deal with a consortium of Indonesian state companies to form a joint venture to build the railway, with construction set to start next year and the line to begin operating in 2019. “This high-speed train will make it easier for the public to travel,” he told reporters in Jakarta, where the deal was inked. “This major project will also provide major employment opportunities and boost the economy.”