Boeing says it has no plans to build a final assembly line in China, and will instead grow its presence by deepening its partnerships across the country.
Speaking to Flightglobal in Beijing, Boeing China president Ian Thomas says the airframer “obviously looked” at setting up an assembly line in China, but has made a strategic decision not to do so.
“The fact is we do final assembly in Puget Sound and we’ve opened a final assembly for the 787 in Charleston South Carolina, we made our strategic decisions about where that activity takes place,” says Thomas.
“We’re comfortable with that decision, and we think the breadth and depth of our current and planned future partnerships in China will continue to convey, to our stakeholders, both in airlines and the government, that we have not just a deep commitment, but also plans to deepen and broaden that.”
Thomas was also quick to point out that every Boeing aircraft has Chinese content and that it is “important not to judge a partnership by one building”.
Airbus has said that its decision to set up an A320 final assembly line in Tianjin, its first outside Europe, has accelerated its growth in China. Its chief executive Fabrice Bregier has also said that the airframer's marketshare in China has grown to 50% from 30% since it set up shop in Tianjin.
Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows that there are 1,076 Boeing and 1,052 Airbus aircraft in service in China.