Chinese rail firm flexes muscle overseas, signs US$5.5 billion worth of deals in Africa

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC) has signed two deals worth a combined US$5.5 billion for construction projects in Africa, Xinhua reported late on Monday, as the country's railway firms increasingly flex their muscle overseas.

CRCC's China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) unit will work on a US$3.5 billion intercity railway line in Nigeria's southwestern Ogun state, Xinhua said, citing the area's state governor, Ibikunle Amosun.

CRCC also signed a US$1.93 billion deal to build a residential construction project in Zimbabwe, Xinhua added.

Beijing is pushing to make its firms more competitive globally, with an ongoing merger of the country's top two train-makers set to create a $26 billion behemoth that will be able to compete with international rivals.

Meng Fengchao, the board chairman of CRCC, told Xinhua the deals were a milestone in the "going global" strategy of China's railway firms.