Avi­a­tion sup­pli­ers con­fi­dent about suc­cess in China’s grow­ing mar­ket

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA INTERNATIONAL IMPORT EXPO - By WANG YING and ALYWIN CHEW in Shang­hai Con­tact the writ­ers at wang_y­ing@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Avi­a­tion com­pa­nies have demon­strated their con­fi­dence in the Chi­nese mar­ket at the on­go­ing China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo, with Air­bus look­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on op­por­tu­ni­ties in he­li­copter emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices.

In his key­note speech at CIIE’s open­ing cer­e­mony on Mon­day, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said China’s im­ports of goods are ex­pected to ex­ceed $30 tril­lion in the next 15 years, with im­ports of ser­vices tipped to top $10 tril­lion.

The next day, a deal worth more than 10 bil­lion yuan ($1.44 bil­lion) was signed be­tween China Eastern Air­lines, which is based in Shang­hai, and Bri­tish en­gi­neer­ing gi­ant Rolls-Royce for Trent XWB jet en­gines and longterm main­te­nance ser­vices.

Ben Story, Rolls-Royce’s strate­gic mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor, said the agree­ment in­volves China Eastern’s 20 Air­bus A350 XWB air­craft and is part of more than $2 bil­lion worth of con­tracts, agree­ments and mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing signed be­tween Rolls-Royce and ma­jor Chi­nese air­lines at CIIE.

The com­pany ex­pects to sign more than a dozen deals with mul­ti­ple cus­tomers at the expo across all its busi­ness sec­tors, in­clud­ing civil aero­space and power sys­tems.

Story said CIIE is a sign of the grow­ing ma­tu­rity of China’s econ­omy as the coun­try seeks to bet­ter bal­ance im­ports and ex­ports, along with recog­ni­tion of its sta­tus as a key mar­ket, and a demon­stra­tion of its open­ness to trade.

“So there are re­ally pos­i­tive signs and sym­bols com­ing out of this,” he said. “In the longer term, it’s such a good way to re­ally build our pres­ence here, to build our ca­pa­bil­ity here, to build our re­la­tion­ships here.”

China is Rolls-Royce’s fastest-grow­ing mar­ket and be­came its sec­ond-largest mar­ket af­ter the United States last year, con­tribut­ing 12 per­cent of the group’s 15 bil­lion pounds ($19.69 bil­lion) global rev­enue. Its busi­nesses in China cover the civil aero­space, ma­rine, power sys­tems and civil nu­clear sec­tors.

“I want China to be one of the key pil­lars of the whole or­ga­ni­za­tion, where we find some of the best tal­ent, best ca­pa­bil­i­ties for the whole or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ben­e­fit. … it’s a good chance it will be­come our largest mar­ket,” Story said.

George Xu, CEO of Air­bus China, said: “The expo gives the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity a sense of China’s solid ef­forts to open its mar­ket and share op­por­tu­ni­ties. At a time of ris­ing pro­tec­tion­ism, China’s sin­cer­ity is un­mis­tak­able.”

Air­bus is look­ing to main­tain its po­si­tion as the mar­ket leader for he­li­copters in China.

“China used to be seen as the world’s fac­tory, but now it is seen as the world’s mar­ket,” Marie-Agnes Veve, head of Air­bus He­li­copters in China, said at CIIE. “It’s a fast-grow­ing mar­ket, and as such we see lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties here. Al­though we have been in China for 50 years and are cur­rently the leader in the he­li­copter mar­ket, we want to con­tinue to be the main ac­tor here in the years to come.”

Veve said 80 op­er­a­tors in China fly Air­bus he­li­copters for util­ity mis­sions in the oil and gas, agri­cul­ture and trans­porta­tion in­dus­tries. In con­trast, there are hardly any op­er­a­tors in the he­li­copter emer­gency med­i­cal ser­vices seg­ment.

“There are only two HEMS op­er­a­tors for a coun­try as huge as China,” she said. “This just shows how much po­ten­tial there is in this par­tic­u­lar mar­ket. We have al­ready got HEMS he­li­copters in Bei­jing and are now start­ing in Qing­dao (in Shan­dong prov­ince). We want to equip all the Chi­nese cities.”

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

A model plane is dis­played at the na­tional booth of the Czech Repub­lic on Thurs­day.

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