Hyperloop Transportation Technologies or HyperloopTT has unexpectedly taken the lead in the race to build the transportation system. HyperloopTT has entered into a deal to build the first Hyperloop track in China.
A 10 kilometer (6.2) mile test track is planned in the province of Guizhou in Southwest China, Endgadget reported. The city of Tongren will pick up 50% of the cost of building the track. HyperloopTT will put the other half of the money. The cost of track of was not mentioned.
The track will apparently be located in the Tongren region, near the Chongqing Municipality. Chongqing or Chunking is the historic Chinese city that served as the Nationalist capital during World War II.
Even though it sounds like a test track, HyperloopTT contends the Guizhou track is a commercial venture. This would be the second test track built by HyperloopTT which is constructing at 320 meter long track in Toulouse, France. HyperloopTT is also planning a test facility in Brazil.
HyperloopTT will launch a joint venture in China to operate the local Hyperloop. HyperloopTT calls itself a “crowdsourced venture” but apparently has some serious corporate backing. HyperloopTT also claims to be an American company, but its principal operations are in France.
HyperloopTT is Part of the New Silk Road
“We envision that Hyperloop will play into a bigger role of the Silk Road Economic Belt, connecting the region to the rest of the world,” Dirk Ahlborn told the China Money Network. “China spends over US $300 billion annually on infrastructure to address their rapidly growing urban populations.”
“Having worked alongside our government partners, Hyperloop has proven a viable solution for this immediate problem,” Ahlborn added. “Additionally, the unique topography of Tongren will allow us to refine our various construction methods with our partners.”
The New Silk Road is a project to build a rail connection between China and Europe over the route of the historic Silk Road. The Chinese government is heavily committed to that project. The People’s Republic reportedly intends to spend $900 billion on the New Silk Road or Belt and Road Action Plan.
An obvious use for the New Silk Road is to haul the products of China’s many factories to Europe. Guizhou is trying to push itself as an industrial center by luring giant manufacturers and retailers including Tencent Holdings, Foxconn, Microsoft, Huawei, Qualcomm, and Alibaba to its Guiyang Economic and Technological Development Zone.
Will China Practice Hyperloop Imperialism?
Another obvious use for the New Silk Road is to move the troops and tanks of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) all over Eurasia. That makes the New Silk Road a lot like the legendary Roman roads, which were built to enable the legions to easily reach all corners of the Empire.
The Hyperloop would obviously greatly speed up the movement of troops and military equipment. It might give the PLA a military edge in future conflicts, such as war with Russia.
Local companies will build the Hyperloop infrastructure and pods that HyperloopTT will design and test. No name for the joint-venture with Tongren has been announced. It is obvious that the central Chinese government and possibly the PLA will be involved in the project.
The Guizhou deal gives HyperloopTT a huge advantage over Hyperloop One and Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Neither SpaceX nor Hyperloop One has a joint venture or test track in China – yet.