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Boeing seeks more Chinese participation
( 2003-11-09 10:45) (China Daily)

Boeing is expected to hold a conference in Beijing next week to invite its global partners to meet Asian suppliers and discuss how to work together to design and construct Boeing's ambitious 7E7 jet.

Most of the Asian suppliers come from China and most of the Chinese companies are new potential suppliers that Boeing has yet to do business with, said David Wang, president of Boeing China, in an interview with China Daily.

The conference, which is unprecedented in China, aims to provide an opportunity for Chinese aviation suppliers to play a role in the 7E7 programme.

"We are trying to broaden our touch, and with the broadened touch (we hope) to deepen the work (of the 7E7 programme)," said Wang.

Boeing is betting on the proposed 7E7 - a super-efficient, long-range aircraft - to beat off the stiff competition from European-based Airbus and retain its leading position in the civil aviation industry in the coming decade.

The plane is scheduled to debut on the market in 2008.

Wang said the reason why Boeing would like to have more Chinese participation in the programme is partly because it sees China as a strategically important part of its globalization strategy. "To be a global company, Boeing should grow faster outside the United States, and China is the fastest-growing market in the world," said Wang.

Earlier in September, Boeing forecast that China will need nearly 2,400 new airplanes, worth US$197 billion, over the next two decades.

To capture the market, "Boeing should become more Chinese in China," said Wang.

"Twenty years from now, China will view Boeing as a global China brand, not just a global brand," he said.

"We must be more Chinese in our leadership, in content... have more designs, capability coming from China in the long term."

Wang said Boeing plans to increase investment and presence, provide broader services, and buy more from China.

Boeing plans to double its procurement in China to over US$100 million a year within three years, he added.

The Chicago-based company is also transforming from a mere aircraft company in China into a provider of integrated services, such as air traffic management, Internet service in air, aircraft maintenance and modification, and financing.

Wang said Boeing is expanding its service business because the tremendous market growth in China calls for more and more technology and service to ensure safety, efficiency and enjoyment in flight.

In an effort to crack open the new business frontier, Boeing is negotiating with Chinese partners to establish a US$100 million repair, modification and maintenance joint venture in Shanghai within three years.

Wang described the venture as a "global best," and expects to complete negotiations and start construction this year or early next year.

He indicated that the maintenance business will become a stable revenue contributor to Boeing.

"An aircraft is made in 12-18 months, but flies for more than 30 years.

"The number of aircraft delivered fluctuates every year, but maintenance is stable."

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