China is designing its next generation of trains that can carry passengers at a top speed of 500 kilometers (310 miles) an hour and cargo at 250km/h, with wheels that can adjust to fit different track gauges used around the world.
Under an ambitious government plan starting this year, the country is developing trains that can run on a hybrid-propulsion system that allows higher speeds, said Jia Limin, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University.
Using the enhanced technology and expanded network, "China will have the experience to operate high-speed rail networks in the world's most diverse geographic and climatic conditions, from deserts to alpine plateaus to rainforests", said Jia during an interview in Hong Kong.
"That gives Chinese technology the unique ability to adapt to any condition anywhere in the world."
China's high-speed rail network is designed to operate in harsh winters in the northeastern provinces, where winter temperatures can plummet to 40 degrees Celsius below freezing, to the world's highest altitudes in the Tibet autonomous region, to deserts on its western frontiers.
The domestic high-speed tracks already cover 20,000km, or 60 per cent of the world's installed network. That will expand to 30,000km by 2020 and 45,000km by 2030, said Jia, who heads the Chinese program to develop fast trains.