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Interview: GE still cool, focusing on China: GE CEO

English.news.cn   2014-06-13 14:52:50

by Sun Oumeng, Xie Peng

BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhua) -- General Electric is second to none when it comes to innovation and technology, said Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric (GE) before the company's opening of a new healthcare manufacturing facility in Tianjin Thursday.

"When you go and get on a plane tonight, from Tianjin to Shanghai, and you look out the window, you see a miracle technology of jet engine, and that jet engine says GE, not Google," Immelt, the world industry leader, gave his comments on those fashionable companies such as Google, Facebook and Tesla in an interview with Xinhua.

"We admire those companies, but they do different things from what we do," Immelt told Xinhua, when he was asked whether GE's business model was out of date.

"I take second place to no one when it comes to innovation and technology," he added. "That is why I think we are cool."

According to the company's annual report, GE is a 150-billion-dollar global company. Its growth this year will be high single-digit, and its organic growth will be 10 percent this year globally. It invests about 6 percent of its revenues back on research and development.

"We do big, complicated systemic technology. We innovate skills," Immelt said, "The things we do are amazing products."

In addition, Immelt said GE was investing significantly to build a strong analytical capability. He said all the industrial companies needed to be aware of advances in software and analysis, so they could compete in the long term.

"We want to be the most competitive company in the world, so we study Chinese companies, South Korean companies, American companies and German companies." This is how GE maintains its competitive momentum.

When talking about GE's business in China, Immelt said GE was pursuing more partnerships with China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs), more innovation locally in China, and more challenging activities involved in clean energy and environmental protection.

Immelt mentioned four hot issues in China: innovation and entrepreneurship, affordable medical service, clean energy and opening up to the outside world. GE takes all the four issues into consideration. "Nobody else does that," Immelt said.

"The growth of China has been driven by investment and building infrastructure over the past decades," Immelt said. "China's government has been doing a fantastic job in developing the country and maintaining its fast growth."

Now, some great changes are on the way. China is focusing more on consumption, innovation and reforms in the economy and in SOEs. This will encourage GE to explore new strategies to be successful in the coming years.

In GE's 150-billion-dollar revenue, China's share was only 7 billion dollars. Immelt said GE built its businesses over time, step by step. If looking back 10 years ago, GE started from zero, but now it has 18,000 employees and more than 30 factories in China.

"China is now the second biggest economy in the world, and might become the biggest one someday. GE has to be bigger in China's market in the future. I don't set any limits to what we will be able to do in China someday," Immelt said.

The new GE healthcare manufacturing facility, opened Thursday in Tianjin, a port city some 130 km southeast of Beijing, will focus on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and other imaging products.

"As the world's leading technology and infrastructure company, GE will continue to invest in this dynamic market to meet the growing needs for greater access to technology and better healthcare opportunities for the 1.3 billion population in China," Immelt said.

As for "protectionism" and the Sino-U.S. relationship, Immelt said it was important for businesses to always keep investing with a long-term view during such complicated times.

"Personally, I think everybody in the U.S., and everybody in Washington, understands the relationship with China is incredibly important," he said.

Editor: Yang Yi
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