By George Chen
The opinions expressed are the author’s own.
We’ve talked about whether China’s economy will have a soft or hard landing. In fact, what China needs is a pause. Lots of things in China may be moving way too fast. Including our trains.
On Saturday, at least 35 people died when a high-speed train smashed into a stalled train in eastern Zhejiang province, raising new questions about the safety of the fast-growing rail network. For a Reuters story, click here.
In my view, the train crash does not only raise doubts about China’s big ambitions and effort to build its high-speed train network. It also adds to people’s frustrations over the way the country is administered. Some political commentators have said the “accident” was not really an accident but an incident, which in the end may have corruption, irresponsibility and bureaucracy to blame for.
For investors, it could be a time to short on those high-speed train related stocks. The Ministry of Railways tried the best to regain trust from the nation’s frustrating passengers that China’s latest high-speed train technology is safe and advanced. Such declarations came less than 24 hours after the tragedy that the the entire country is now mourning.
I think the market has already given its response to the rail ministry — shares of China train equipment makers fell as much as 16 percent on Monday. Meanwhile, many investors began to refocus on airlines. For a related Reuters story, click here.