Enstrom Helicopter’s new Chinese owner, Chongqing Helicopter Investment, hopes to expand the company’s presence in the Asian market, taking a 30% share of the segment, following its acquisition of the Michigan-based manufacturer in January.
Chongqing acts as a general dealer for Enstrom Helicopters, says Guo Huaqiang, who is an official with the Chinese company.
Guo says his company will further develop the Enstrom brand in the Chinese market with the ultimate goal of securing a 30% market share. But the company will also operate, maintain and provide training using Enstrom-built machines, he says.
Chongqing is investing to double the US company’s production capacity by 2015, Guo says.
Jerry Mullin, Enstrom president, says none of the company’s helicopters are presently built in China, but in future some final assembly work will be performed there.
As the Chinese learn how to better assemble the machines, more production work will be transfered. However, none of the actual manufacturing will take place in China.
Mullin says Chongqing is not only the company’s owner, it is also one of its best customers. It has already purchased six helicopters from Enstrom, Mullin says, but on 5 March the Chinese firm signed an order to acquire a further 10 units. Guo says Chongqing is likely to order an additional 15 helicopters next year.
The aircraft will be used for agricultural work, powerline inspections, and training. The Enstrom-built machines will also be used by the Chinese police services, Guo says.
Eventually, Guo says, Chongqing hopes to expand beyond helicopters into the fixed-wing market.