BEIJING – China has launched its first aircraft-engine manufacturer, in the latest effort to develop homegrown, high-tech businesses to compete in international markets.
The state-owned Aero-Engine Group of China was created by combining a group of existing aircraft-engine companies, with registered capital of 50 billion yuan ($7.5 billion), state television said Sunday.
It will develop both military and commercial engines.
China already makes its own planes, but has struggled for decades to develop engines that meet global requirements.
The government’s overhaul of state-owned enterprises to push Chinese products and services up the value chain has prioritized aircraft engines, high-speed rail and nuclear power as areas in which it wants China to excel.
China is currently buying its commercial aircraft engines from General Electric and United Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney, while its military jets use Russian-made engines.
President Xi Jinping called the new creation of the new company a “strategic move” aimed at developing China’s reputation as a global aviation power, Xinhua news agency said in a report.
China’s cabinet, Beijing municipal government, the Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) and the Commercial Aircraft Corp of China are investors in the new Aero-Engine Group of China, combining a number of smaller businesses and their 96,000 employees to focus on designing, manufacturing and testing of aircraft engines, the report said.
AVIC makes military jets and helicopters while Comac produces China’s biggest domestically-produced passenger plane, the C919.