Har­ness­ing po­ten­tial of emerg­ing tech

GE China chief says com­pany is com­mit­ted to as­sist­ing part­ners in dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tions to un­lock pro­duc­tiv­ity

China Daily European Weekly - - Business - By ZHENG XIN zhengxin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Please use three words to de­scribe China’s changes dur­ing the past 40 years. Rapid, up­lift­ing and pow­er­ful.

What are the big­gest achieve­ments in China since the in­tro­duc­tion of the re­form and open­ing-up pol­icy 40 years ago?

Since its re­form and open­ing-up, China has lifted over 700 mil­lion peo­ple out of poverty, and the qual­ity of life and ser­vices across sec­tors has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally. At GE, we have re­al­ized that China’s eco­nomic strength, re­source ag­gre­ga­tion abil­ity and global in­flu­ence are con­stantly im­prov­ing.

In sec­tors with which GE is most con­cerned, in­clud­ing en­ergy, avi­a­tion and healthcare, de­vel­op­ments have been as­tound­ing on both a macro scale and in­di­vid­ual project ba­sis. In en­ergy, elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion per capita has in­creased more than 1,500 per­cent since 1978, and projects such as the Three Gorges Dam Hy­dro­elec­tric Power Plant, to which GE pro­vided 14 gen­er­a­tion units, and the West to East Gas Pipe­line, to which GE pro­vided over 110 pieces of com­pres­sion equip­ment, are mar­vels of en­gi­neer­ing, all as China is mov­ing to­ward cleaner en­ergy.

Mean­while, as do­mes­tic air travel has grown to nearly 550 mil­lion pas­sen­gers a year, the de­vel­op­ment of do­mes­tic air­lin­ers, such as COMAC’s ARJ21 and C919, pow­ered by GE en­gines, rep­re­sent sig­nif­i­cant leaps for­ward in do­mes­tic ca­pa­bil­ity. And in healthcare, the num­ber of hos­pi­tal beds has in­creased by 153 per­cent, while fixed as­sets — of which GE tech­nolo­gies ben­e­fit over 20 mil­lion Chi­nese pa­tients daily — have also in­creased rapidly, as life ex­pectancy has risen ap­prox­i­mately 10 years to 76 as of 2017.

What’s the big­gest chal­lenge China faces to­day, and how can the coun­try over­come it?

Un­der the guid­ance of the “new de­vel­op­ment” con­cept, the dra­matic changes tak­ing place in China, in­clud­ing clean en­ergy, af­ford­able healthcare, ur­ban­iza­tion and In­ter­net Plus, rep­re­sent huge op­por­tu­ni­ties for fu­ture de­vel­op­ment. This in­cludes a power mar­ket that is ex­pected to grow at an an­nual rate of nearly 5 per­cent un­til 2020, while mov­ing to­ward clean en­ergy such as nat­u­ral gas; a healthcare mar­ket that is ex­pected to grow as the num­ber of peo­ple above 65 years will hit 170 mil­lion by 2020; and an air travel sec­tor, which is ex­pected to make China the largest avi­a­tion mar­ket glob­ally in terms of pas­sen­ger flow within 15 years.

One over­ar­ch­ing chal­lenge, which will af­fect nearly all in­dus­tries, is har­ness­ing the po­ten­tial of emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies, such as ma­chine learn­ing, 3D print­ing and con­nected de­vices, to un­leash a new age of pro­duc­tiv­ity. Com­pa­nies must em­brace these new tech­nolo­gies and ef­fec­tively de­ploy them across their or­ga­ni­za­tions in ways that gen­er­ate the great­est value. At GE, we are lever­ag­ing our unique com­bi­na­tion of deep in­dus­trial do­main ex­per­tise and soft­ware com­pe­ten­cies to as­sist our part­ners in their dig­i­tal in­dus­trial trans­for­ma­tions by con­nect­ing ma­chines, soft­ware and data an­a­lyt­ics to un­lock in­dus­trial pro­duc­tiv­ity and up­grade China’s in­dus­try.

How has your com­pany ben­e­fited from the pol­icy of re­form and open­ing-up ?

GE has en­joyed rapid de­vel­op­ment in China for the past 40 years as a wit­ness, par­tic­i­pant and ben­e­fi­ciary to its re­form and open­ing-up, while pur­su­ing in-depth lo­cal­iza­tion, part­ner­ship and dig­i­ti­za­tion.

To­day, GE China houses over 20,000 em­ploy­ees, 30 man­u­fac­tur­ing bases and more than 30 joint ven­tures, with a pres­ence across 40 cities in the coun­try, along with R&D teams in eight cities. In 2017, GE’s or­ders in China amounted to over $8 bil­lion.

Mul­ti­ple gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives to pro­mote for­eign in­vest­ment have pro­vided op­por­tu­ni­ties for GE in China. For ex­am­ple, GE’s head­quar­ters in Shang­hai lever­ages the lo­ca­tion and pol­icy ad­van­tages of the Shang­hai Free Trade Zone to ben­e­fit from the ef­fi­cient al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources — funds, tal­ent, land, in­for­ma­tion and other re­sources — by the Shang­hai gov­ern­ment.

Mean­while, in­vest­ment from the Tian­jin gov­ern­ment helped us to es­tab­lish GE’s first Ad­vanced Man­u­fac­tur­ing Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter out­side the US, which brings to­gether an ecosys­tem of ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­ogy providers to de­velop, in­te­grate and de­ploy tai­lored Bril­liant Fac­tory so­lu­tions. These poli­cies have ben­e­fited both GE and Tian­jin, which as­pires to be­come a cen­ter for ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing.

Just last year, GE Healthcare part­nered the Guangzhou De­vel­op­ment Dis­trict to break ground on the GE Bio-cam­pus, which aims to sup­port the large-scale man­u­fac­tur­ing of bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals. It will con­sist of sev­eral KUBio bio­pharma fac­to­ries — GE-de­signed “fac­to­ries in boxes” — and a Fast Trak Bridge shared­ser­vices fa­cil­ity that is de­signed to help bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal man­u­fac­tur­ers in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity, re­duce costs and bring af­ford­able drugs to mar­ket faster.

Ul­ti­mately, China is now GE’s largest sin­gle-coun­try mar­ket out­side the US, and the most im­por­tant driver of growth.

Could China’s ex­pe­ri­ences and prac­tices be used to solve global prob­lems?

China’s ex­pe­ri­ences and prac­tices are al­ready help­ing to solve global prob­lems. For ex­am­ple, Chi­nese EPCs (en­gi­neer­ing, pro­cure­ment and con­struc­tion com­pa­nies) have been work­ing on projects in de­vel­op­ing mar­kets for years, with ad­di­tional growth spurred by China’s Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

GE has worked to­gether with Chi­nese EPC com­pa­nies for over 20 years, lend­ing our ex­pe­ri­ence in over­seas risk con­trol, in­vest­ment and fi­nanc­ing to pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port, lo­cal mar­ket ex­per­tise and over­seas on-site sup­port to Chi­nese EPCs.

Mean­while, these EPCs are lever­ag­ing their ex­per­tise in rapidly im­ple­ment­ing in­fras­truc­ture projects at scale to pro­vide power gen­er­a­tion fa­cil­i­ties and other im­por­tant as­sets to other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries that have been pre­vi­ously un­der­served.

GE is also de­vel­op­ing so­lu­tions in China for the world. One-third of GE’s ul­tra­sound probes, half of our MRI ma­chines and two-thirds of our CT ma­chines sold glob­ally are man­u­fac­tured in Wuxi, Tian­jin and Beijing, re­spec­tively. How do you view China’s role in the world to­day?

China is now the world’s sec­ond­largest econ­omy and the world’s sec­ond-largest im­porter. This is why it is host­ing the China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo for the first time in Novem­ber. The expo, in which GE will par­tic­i­pate in the high-end in­tel­li­gent equip­ment ex­hi­bi­tion area, aims to give firm sup­port to trade lib­er­al­iza­tion and eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion, and ac­tively open the Chi­nese mar­ket to the world. Such ef­forts po­si­tion China as a key driver of global growth — a role that China will con­tinue to play well into the fu­ture. Re­flect­ing on the pros­per­ity brought by the past 40 years, we look for­ward to con­tin­ued ef­forts by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to ex­pand its open­ness and deepen re­forms.

Apart from eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, what progress in other ar­eas have you wit­nessed in China in the past 40 years?

Tal­ent de­vel­op­ment is one ma­jor area. To­day, over 75 per­cent of our ex­ec­u­tive team and 98 per­cent of our to­tal team at GE China is com­prised of lo­cal tal­ent, which is the driv­ing force be­hind our de­vel­op­ment in China.

Mean­while, cul­tural events that place China on the global stage, such as host­ing the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2010 World Expo in Shang­hai — both of which fea­tured GE as a proud spon­sor — are some of the most prom­i­nent noneco­nomic achieve­ments. Such events show­case China’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the global com­mu­nity and pro­vide the out­side world an ex­cel­lent glimpse of what China has achieved.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

CT ma­chines made by GE are dis­played at a med­i­cal equip­ment ex­hi­bi­tion in Shang­hai on April 13.

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