Date: 27 March 2009
China’s largest aircraft maker, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), opened a defense branch Thursday in Beijing in an effort to make the company a first-class, worldwide manufacturer of aerial defense products.
The branch will take over most of the military-related business done by AVIC such as building combat aircraft, including China’s own third generation fighter J-10.
In addition, the defense branch will primarily develop and make training aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
It will also conduct research and manufacture business jets as well as sell its products internationally, a statement released by AVIC on Thursday said.
The defense branch, an integration of relevant departments within the corporation, will be an independent accounting unit of AVIC with total assets of nearly 50 billion yuan (7.35 billion U.S. dollars).
It has been authorized to manage AVIC’s 10 assembly plants and research institutes which are scattered in several cities across China such as Shenyang, Chengdu, Changsha and Shanghai.
The company has approximately 60,000 employees and a rough annual sales revenue of 30 billion yuan (4.4 billion U.S. dollars).
It has also exported more than 1,000 aircraft overseas and cooperated with foreign aviation makers to develop civilian planes.
“We are trying to become a world leading defense products supplier by expanding our overseas market for export,” Wang Yawei, general manager of the defense branch, told Xinhua Thursday.
According to Wang, the branch will promote AVIC’s L-15 Falcon, a supersonic training aircraft, and FC-1 Fierce Dragon, a light-weight multipurpose fighter, for export.
As for civilian products, AVIC is determined to develop, build and, if possible, export corporate jets.
China split the state-owned AVIC into AVIC I and AVIC II in 1999 in an effort make it more competitive in the global market.
However, the two parts were merged together in November of last year by the Chinese government to build up the aviation giant.
Currently, AVIC owns 22 listed companies in China.