State-of-art fa­cil­ity aims to grab next big change to trans­form aero­space sec­tor

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - BUSINESS - By ZHU WENQIAN zhuwen­qian@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Euro­pean air­craft man­u­fac­turer Air­bus Group SE will start op­er­at­ing an in­no­va­tion cen­ter in China by the end of the year to sup­port fu­ture prod­ucts and ser­vices, as the plane maker looks to lever­age lo­cal R&D ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

For­mer Uber China ex­ec­u­tive Luo Gang has been ap­pointed the CEO of Air­bus’ new in­no­va­tion cen­ter, the com­pany an­nounced late on Mon­day.

Air­bus said Luo spent nearly three years es­tab­lish­ing Uber China’s busi­ness be­fore it was ac­quired by Didi Chux­ing in 2016. It said his ex­pe­ri­ence in Lon­don with UK startup Ranges­pan taught him how quickly tech­nol­ogy can trans­form tra­di­tional busi­nesses.

The state­ment said the lo­ca­tion of the new Air­bus in­no­va­tion cen­ter will be an­nounced later in the year.

Luo said China’s fast-paced startup cul­ture made it an ideal place for Air­bus to cre­ate a new in­no­va­tion cen­ter.

“China is now a pow­er­house of in­no­va­tion and has a strong and com­plete ecosys­tem, in­clud­ing hard­ware, soft­ware, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and oth­ers,” he said.

He said ex­tend­ing this knowhow to aero­space would ad­vance new ways of man­u­fac­tur­ing.

In his role, Luo will re­port to Paul Ere­menko, the chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer of Air­bus, who ear­lier said in Bei­jing that Air­bus was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a sig­nif­i­cant shift in its cul­ture, as its mainly Euro­pean-based engi­neers in­volved in research and tech­nol­ogy are in­cen­tivized to en­gage more with the out­side world.

“Our strat­egy is to as­sess global in­no­va­tion hot spots for spe­cific types of tech­nolo­gies, and de­velop a pres­ence in these lo­ca­tions that al­lows us to in­ter­face with star­tups, uni­ver­si­ties, research lab­o­ra­to­ries and other part­ners,” Ere­menko said.

Air­bus said its in­no­va­tion cen­ter, which will fo­cus on spe­cific research and development ar­eas, aims to grab the next big change to trans­form the aero­space sec­tor, and will serve to strengthen the com­pany’s ex­tended in­no­va­tion ecosys­tem.

Lin Zhi­jie, an avi­a­tion in­dus­try an­a­lyst and colum­nist at carnoc.com, one of China’s big­gest civil avi­a­tion web­sites, said as one of the du­op­oly play­ers, the com­pe­ti­tion was not fierce for Air­bus in the global avi­a­tion mar­ket.

Lin said that it was easy for such com­pa­nies to get slack and rigid if they did not keep in­no­vat­ing.

REUTERS

An em­ployee works at the A320 fam­ily fi­nal as­sem­bly line of the Air­bus plant in Tian­jin.

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