Boeing inks China pacts for plant, 300 jets

Workers assembling a Boeing 737 aeroplane at the company's factory in Renton, Washington. Boeing has signed a cooperation document to build an aircraft completion centre in China, Xinhua reported.
Workers assembling a Boeing 737 aeroplane at the company's factory in Renton, Washington. Boeing has signed a cooperation document to build an aircraft completion centre in China, Xinhua reported.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BEIJING • Boeing has signed deals to sell 300 aircraft to three Chinese firms and to set up an aircraft plant in China, making it the first US company to announce a business tie-up in the country since Chinese President Xi Jinping began a state visit to the United States this week, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

ICBC Financial Leasing, a unit of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, yesterday separately confirmed that it will buy 30 of Boeing's 737-800 jets, worth US$2.88 billion (S$4.1 billion) at list prices.

China Aviation Supplies Holding Company and China Development Bank Leasing are the other two customers for the aircraft, said Xinhua.

Mr Xi, who arrived in Seattle on Tuesday, was scheduled to visit Boeing later yesterday.

The world's second-biggest economy is a key market for Boeing and its European rival Airbus, which manufacture most of the passenger aircraft that are in service globally.

Boeing raised its forecast for China's aircraft demand by 5 per cent last month, saying the country will need 6,330 planes over the next 20 years.

Boeing has also signed a cooperation document with the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China to build an aircraft completion centre for its 737 passenger jet in China, added Xinhua. The agency did not disclose further details.

Such a facility in China would represent a shift in Boeing's strategy in the crucial market, where Airbus already has a final assembly operation for medium-range Airbus 320 aircraft in the northern port city of Tianjin and plans to open a new completion and delivery centre for long-haul A-330s.

A report by the Shanghai Securities News on Tuesday said plans for a Boeing facility in the eastern province of Zhejiang have already been submitted to the central government in Beijing for approval.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2015, with the headline 'Boeing inks China pacts for plant, 300 jets'. Print Edition | Subscribe