GE plots China growth

27 September 2011

BEIJING: General Electric, the financial services to engineering conglomerate, is hoping China will become a second "home" market as it seeks to double local revenues in the next three years.

The US multinational generated worldwide sales of $150.2bn last year, with China delivering just $5bn of this total, a figure Mark Hutchinson, GE China's president/CEO, is keen to drive upwards.

"It should be a lot bigger," he said." So my job is to work with the team and with our partners to grow that. We are going to double our business in China, including revenue, over the next three years."

While GE has not yet fully leveraged the opportunity available in China across its various fields of activity - from healthcare to aviation - it is placing a major emphasis on the Asian economy.

"GE is truly a global company and operates in more than 100 countries. Compared with other countries except for the United States, we still have a big base in China," Hutchinson argued.

"Professionally, my dream in China is to really make sure that we make China our home, as well as being home in the United States ... A global company can be home in many countries. I truly believe that being global means being local in many places."

Among GE's latest initiatives in the world's most populous nation is working alongside General Motors, the automaker, to increase the number of electric vehicle charging stations in Shanghai.

Such a process includes a pilot programme that will see General Electric buying several of GM's Chevrolet Volt electric cars, set to go on sale in China this year, for use at its facility in Shanghai.

Elsewhere, General Electric has allied with Anheuser-Busch InBev, the brewer, to develop software, hardware and solutions cutting the latter company's environmental footprint in China.

More broadly, GE works with numerous local enterprises, like the Aviation Industry Corporation of China and the Huadian Group, an energy provider, via its Chinese joint ventures.

Although many indigenous Chinese firms are attempting to enhance their own positions in the market, Hutchinson suggested this can also have beneficial outcomes.

"When people ask me whether GE is afraid of the risk of Chinese partners becoming competitors, I say that competition is a good thing. It helps us get better," he said. "On the other hand, if we team up together, we can grow together. It is going to be a win-win partnership."

Data sourced from Forbes/China Daily; additional content by Warc staff