Japan's maglev is under development by JR Central.

BEIJING (Reuters) - China unveiled on Tuesday a homegrown magnetic levitation train capable of reaching 600 kph, the fastest train ever built by the country.

"Chinese high-speed maglev trains can become a viable industry," Sun Yongcai, chairman of CRRC, the state-owned developer of the train, said in a statement.

The new train s speed approaches the 603 kph world record set by a Japanese maglev built by Central Japan Railway, ushering in an intense competition for technical supremacy in the high-speed train market.

The development of China s maglev, which comes in sets of five cars, began in 2016, with a successful trial run in June 2020. CRRC, the world s biggest manufacturer of train cars, had been fine-tuning the maglev before Tuesday s unveiling.

CRRC touts the maglev s lightness and durability as its strengths. The train can make the trip from Beijing to Shanghai in three and a half hours, including wait times, according to a 2019 estimate. That cuts about two hours from the time needed for a conventional bullet train to travel the same distance.

The company has yet to release a detailed plan for commercializing the maglev. CRRC exports trains worldwide, especially to countries that have signed onto Beijing s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. The rollout of the maglev promotes China s technical prowess.

Japan s maglev is under development by JR Central. The train attained the record 603 kph during a test run in 2015. JR Central is building a maglev line connecting Tokyo and Nagoya on which the train will run at a maximum operating speed of 500 kph.

CRRC earned a net profit of 11.3 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) last year on sales of 227.6 billion yuan. The company formed in 2015 from a merger of state-owned rolling stock makers China CNR and CSR.