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GE China CEO says China will remain most relevant growth market

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-11-08 13:20

NEW YORK -- As General Electric (GE)'s second largest market after the United States, China will remain the most relevant growth market in the future for the multinational enterprise, Rachel Duan, president and CEO of GE China, has told Xinhua.

The key reasons, or "mega-needs," Duan explained on Monday, are as follows: Firstly, China is the largest global power market and is expected to grow at an annual rate of nearly five percent to 2020, all while moving towards clean energy and natural gas.

Secondly, China is currently the world's second largest global healthcare market, with demand only expected to grow as the number of people above 65 years old will hit 170 million by 2020.

Thirdly, in the aviation market, one-third of purchases needed for aircraft made by Boeing and Airbus stem from China; and driven by urbanization, China is expected to become the largest aviation market globally in terms of passenger flow within 10 to 15 years. All three of these sectors are key areas that the GE is focusing on -- power, healthcare, and aviation.

The final mega-need, of Chinese companies going global, is an area that the GE also remains well-positioned to address, through partnerships with Chinese enterprises.

Three key initiatives for adapting Chinese market

Duan, who took over as CEO of GE China at the end of 2014, has since pinpointed three key initiatives that guide the coming years of strategic development for all of the company's businesses -- localization, partnership and digitalization, to better serve the world's largest infrastructure market.

In terms of localization, GE China has been investing in people, processes and technologies throughout the value chain so that it can design, manufacture and service products closer to customers, she said, "This goes beyond market and sales localization, to product R&D, manufacturing and product services."

The GE is the largest healthcare equipment manufacturer in China, and China is a key manufacturing base for the GE: one third of the GE's ultrasound probes, half of its MRIs, and two thirds of its CTs sold globally are manufactured in the Chinese cities of Wuxi, Tianjin and Beijing respectively.

Furthermore, the GE opened an Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Tianjin (its first outside the United States), and established its Asia Headquarters for Global Operations in Shanghai.

Meanwhile, the GE's partnerships with Chinese EPCs (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) have evolved "beyond merely being a supplier," to leveraging its own global network of technology and local market expertise to help win projects side-by-side with Chinese enterprises along the Belt and Road, she said.

"The GE believes that the only way to achieve growth in China is to grow together with our Chinese customers. This is why we launched our 'China for the World' strategy, committed to building sustainable long-term partnerships with China's national champions to assist them in winning both at home and abroad as they take on the global marketplace," she said.

To date, the GE has partnered with over 30 Chinese EPC companies in more than 70 markets across Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Europe. In partnering with Chinese companies, the GE has also formed joint ventures such as AVIAGE (with AVIC), which delivers technologies, product solutions and services in avionics, both in China and globally through the GE's global network.

Meanwhile, the GE's LEAP-1C engine, a state-of-the-art jet engine developed through CFM International, was selected as the only Western engine for COMAC's C919 - C919, China's first large aircraft.

In terms of digitalization, the GE, as the world's leading digital industrial company, with a global footprint and depth of localized capabilities in China, is partnering with customers and helping them win both in China and worldwide by connecting machines, software and data analytics to unlock industrial productivity, Duan said.

The GE opened the Shanghai Digital Foundry, where customers can work side-by-side with a foundry and domain expert to create a strategic business case as well as a customized plan for digital transformation.

"Meanwhile, this week, we are signing several significant commercial deals with our Chinese partners as part of President Donald Trump's first visit to China," Duan added, "They further cement our partnerships with important Chinese customers, while supporting jobs and growth in both the United States and China."

Trump's China visit to define US-China ties

"This is the first official visit that Trump is making to China as president of the United States," Duan pointed out, "We expect that the outcome of the visit will very much define bilateral relations for the next few years."

Headquartered in Boston in the northeastern US state of Massachusetts, the GE was one of the first multinational enterprises to enter the Chinese market over a century ago.

At the GE, and at many Chinese and foreign enterprises doing business globally, everyone agrees that the Chinese and American economies are "so closely intertwined" that "engagement and cooperation, when it comes to trade, are the only way forward," Duan said.

As a global company with operations in 180 countries across the world, "we have seen the benefits of international trade and cooperation both for ourselves and for our Chinese partners, which is why we hope that Trump's visit will bring an ever-stronger relationship between the United States and China going forward," she said.

For the future development of the US-China relations, Duan suggested the two great powers have to "look for common ground and create win-win situations, just as we do with our Chinese partners here."

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