GE turns to Chinese partners to lift Silk Road infrastructure sales

Fri Oct 14, 2016 6:04am EDT
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By Matthew Miller

BEIJING (Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE) (GE.N: Quote) expects increased partnership with Chinese infrastructure firms along China's 'New Silk Road' which aims to link Asia with Europe and the Middle East to generate a significant jump in third-party country sales.

Vice Chairman John Rice said on Thursday the U.S. industrial conglomerate is seeking greater cooperation with Chinese engineering, procurement and construction companies in the 65 countries identified in the Silk Road corridor.

Rice said GE's third-party country revenue involving Chinese partners, which now stands at about $1 billion per year, could jump to more than $5 billion a year, and may reach $10 billion annually.

"Energy is going to be where a lot of where the action is in the short and mid-term," said Rice, who spoke with Reuters on the sidelines of an industry summit GE organized for Chinese suppliers.

GE is among a handful of Western players such as Deutsche Post's (DPWGn.DE: Quote) DHL Group and heavy machinery maker Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N: Quote) who have identified opportunities from the initiative, launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

Caterpillar has said that it hoped to participate in building the network links crucial to the initiative, while DHL has in recent months launched services that use rail infrastructure connecting China and Europe.

For GE, which operates 34 joint ventures and employs 22,000 people in China, third-party cooperation projects also should bolster company revenue at a time when country sales have been hit by a slowing economy and the government's anti-corruption campaign.

GE's China revenue, which increased by 1 percent last year to about $8 billion, will be "slightly" better in the current year, Rice said.   Continued...

The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company General Electric is shown at their subsidiary company GE Aviation in Santa Ana, California April 13, 2016.  REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo