ITT sees opportunities in clean vehicles

Updated: 2012-01-14 09:33

By Du Juan (China Daily)

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BEIJING - ITT Corp, the US engineering and manufacturing company, sees potential business opportunities in China's policies for the development of electric vehicles, which will lead to an increase in investment in coming years.

On Friday, the company announced that it will invest $10 million in a braking-technology production base and a research & development (R&D) center in Wuxi in Jiangsu province.

Luca Savi, president of the company's Motion Technologies division, said the sum is just the initial investment and more funds will be made available as the project develops.

"The project will start production in the second half of the year," he said.

ITT has an intensive cooperation relationship with BYD Co Ltd, the Chinese car maker partly owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, in the electric-vehicle business.

China named clean-energy vehicles as a strategic new industry in September 2010, providing opportunities for manufacturers of electric cars. The move is part of the government's efforts to reduce carbon emissions and save energy.

"We will promote our charging-connector products and solutions in China and abroad because there is a continuing demand for electric autos," said Denise Ramos, ITT's chief executive officer and president.

"We also see a growing market for electric vehicles and energy reduction in China," she said. "We want to, and will, grow with China."

Bill Taylor, president of ITT Interconnect Solutions, said the company will promote charging equipment in accordance with Chinese standards in the second quarter of this year, cooperating with BYD.

"We are not only BYD's supplier, but also conduct R&D with the company in the charging businesses for electric vehicles," he said.

ITT is also a supplier for BMW AG, Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co.

Taylor also announced that, according to his Chinese clients, there will be an increase in investment in China's high-speed railway sector in the second quarter of the year.

China reduced investment in the sector after a high-speed railway accident occurred near Wenzhou in Zhejiang province on July 23 last year.

"However, we still believe that there will be a global long-term need for high-speed railways, especially in China," said Ramos.

According to ITT, 60 percent of its sales volume comes from outside the United States and 30 percent of the total comes from the emerging markets, including China.

"We have been working on building facilities in the emerging markets in the past four to five years, and China is an essential market for our business to go forward," Ramos said. "That's why this time we spent a week traveling in the country where huge changes are happening."

The company has seen total annual revenue of $2 billion over the past two years, 5 percent of which came from its businesses in China, according to Ramos.