The Chinese Ministry of Railways has awarded a $6.6bn (CNY45bn) contract to a China-based train maker affiliated with Japanese firm Kawasaki Heavy Industries, to supply 140 bullet trains.

The trains will be supplied by Nanche Sifang Locomotive, which has a technology licensing agreement with the Japanese firm.

The trains will use Kawasaki Heavy’s technology, already used on the Hayate trains in operation on Japan’s Tohoku Shinkansen Line.

The trains will be used on the Beijing-Shanghai and Beijing-Guangzhou rail lines beginning from the first half of 2010 and will operate at a maximum speed of 350kmph.