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China aviation giant AVIC signs US$26B credit agreement
Updated: 2009-01-08 20:35

BEIJING - Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC), the country's aviation giant, signed a 176 billion yuan (US$25.8 billion) credit agreement with 10 Chinese banks here on Thursday.

The agreement shows banks' confidence in the high-tech and strategic aviation sector despite the economic crisis, Lin Zuoming, AVIC's general manager, told the signing ceremony.

The government has urged local financial institutions to extend more credit to businesses and lend more for infrastructure investment amid efforts to support the weakening economy.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Construction Bank and China Citic Bank agreed to lend 30 billion yuan each.

The other banks are Bank of Communications, Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, China Everbright Bank, China Merchants Bank, Bank of Beijing, China Minsheng Banking and Industrial Bank.

The state-owned AVIC was created in November by the merger of AVIC-I (China Aviation Industry Corp. I) and AVIC-II (China Aviation Industry Corp. II). The merger was intended to boost the organization's internal innovative capacity and optimize the use of resources to sharpen its competitive edge internationally.

AVIC also holds more than 26 percent in the Commercial Aircraft Corp.  of China (COMAC), manager of the country's large aircraft program.

China plans to build commercial aircraft with more than 150 seats to get a share of the huge global aviation market that is now dominated by Boeing and Airbus.

In the next 20 years, China alone will need 3,815 passenger planes, including 2,822 large jets and 993 regional jets, AVIC said last year.

China's large commercial aircraft will be on the market by 2020, Miao Wei, vice-minister of industry and information technology, said last year. COMAC will complete the concept design and research on key technologies by 2010 and start production by 2014, Miao said.