China is one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for energy, aviation and transportation technologies — and GE has been a steady presence in the country: from opening a light bulb factory in China 100 years ago to cutting-edge research at the company’s giant global research lab in Shanghai. Building on that success, GE today announced it’s investing more than $2 billion through 2012 to expand its R&D presence in the country and to develop four new joint ventures in energy and transportation.
The plans, announced Tuesday morning in Beijing by GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt, call for GE to commit $500 million to establish new Customer Innovation Centers that will be closely tied to GE’s current research hub in Shanghai. The centers, located in six cities, will be designed to better serve the west, north, central and south China markets.
At the same time, more than $1.5 billion will be invested in key high-technology sectors. Currently, China is experiencing one of the largest rural to urban migrations in history and is expected to become an urban society within five years, with urbanization rate reaching at least 50 percent. To help China meet the challenge in a sustainable manner, two of the deals center on smart grid technologies as China’s energy needs are expected to double in the next 10 years.
One is a 50/50 joint venture with Wuhan Nari to make and market grid monitoring and diagnostics products. The other is a partnership with Shanghai Electric Power Co. to buy a controlling stake in Shanghai Tianling Switchgear Co., a green power distribution equipments maker.
The other deals are a 50/50 joint venture with China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation to technologies for diesel locomotives and a 50/50 joint venture with Beijing National Railway Research & Design Institute of Signal & Communication to supply railway and urban transit signaling systems.
The announcement today follows yesterday’s news that GE was reorganizing its international operations to focus on global growth, with the goal of doubling U.S. exports and making global sales increase to 60 percent of revenue from the 54 percent it is currently.
* Read today’s announcement
* Read the details on GE’s two smart grid joint ventures
* Read more about GE’s reorganization of international operations
* Take a look in our Shanghai lab
* See our infographic on China’s march toward smart grid modernization
The new innovation centers will focus on product development, engineering for applications, sourcing and delivery in key development areas for China such as rural healthcare, renewable and clean energy, smart grid, energy-efficient lighting, rail, and aviation. A researcher in GE’s China Technology Center in Shanghai is seen above
The announcements follow recent agreements with Harbin Power Equipment Company for a joint venture to make and market land and near-shore wind turbines in China. Earlier this month, GE and Chongqing Bosen Electric agreed to initiate joint venture discussions to provide electrical power solutions for metro and urban rail systems in China’s west. Researchers in GE’s lab in Shanghai are seen above.
Last year, GE signed deals in clean coal, jet engines and avionics, and high speed rail. In April, GE launched the first government sponsored smart grid demonstration center in China. The China Technology Center is pictured above.
Learn more in these GE Reports stories:
* “China deals span coal, high-speed rail & locomotives “
* “GE jet engine joint venture to power China’s new plane”
* “Joint aviation venture with China to create 200 US jobs”
* “China’s new C919 jet picks GE partnership for avionics“