Prover recently started its first project in China, so in the beginning of December Prover did a tour to China, starting in Shanghai, in order to further explore the Chinese interlocking market. The railway market in China represents a huge opportunity, (as it plans to massively expand the railway network), and at the same time some major challenges.
The team from Prover consisted of Fei Niu, myself and our CEO Anders Lindén. Chongjun, our Chinese partner, offered us invaluable assistance with all arrangements: arranging meetings, letting us use their wonderful office and in general took very good care of us.
We visited several cities and had the opportunity to meet some of the major players in the Chinese Railway and Interlocking market and we did some really interesting observations.
Railway Market in China is Developing Fast
With the risk of stating the obvious, the first thing that stroke was the immensity of the Chinese market. For a European, this is almost unfathomable. For instance, in Shanghai, there are well established plans of building 30 new metro lines within the next 5-6 years! This has the implication that Chinese interlocking providers work under much higher pressure regarding delivery schedules and the like than one encounters in Europe.
Also, the level of competence of the Chinese providers seems to be very high. Everybody we met had a firm grasp of both the general principles and the particulars concerning not only interlocking but also computer science.
Finally, we also noted a genuine interest in the products and services that Prover can provide when it comes to Interlocking Design Automation. Chinese companies seems to be driven by a humble pragmatism, not letting pride or ego get in the way of adopting something useful. With safety first, fast and cost efficient delivery of interlocking systems are crucial to them.
All in all, our general impression is very positive. The railway market in China seeems close to ideal for applying interlocking design automation ideas and we look forward to more interesting and succesful cooperations in the future.