With the fast development of its aerospace and aviation industry, China has become an important market for Airbus, as well as a strategic partner and supplier.
Establishing a local presence in China
Facts about Airbus in China
Over 1,300 aircraft are in service in China today. In 1994, there were barely 20. The number of aircraft being delivered to Chinese customers represents nearly 25% of our total production worldwide.
Growth and evolvement have been a constant in the history of Airbus in China since 1994, when the company officially established in the country. Airbus opened its first assembly line outside Europe in Tianjin in 2008, and the company has expanded its in-service fleet by 50 times in less than 2 decades. In December 2013, the company delivered its 1,000th aircraft and aims to reach 2,000 by 2020, pushing its market share above 50%.
More than 1,300 employees currently work for Airbus Commercial Aircraft in China and its joint ventures. The company and its Divisions are present in multiple locations across the country
Meanwhile, Airbus Helicopters has been China’s No. 1 helicopter partner for over 50 years. With a rotorcraft market that is just beginning to take off, the company is looking to boost its current 40% market share by 15% in the coming years. And in the defence and space segment, Airbus has also been extremely active in the field of Earth observation and radio communication systems to guarantee the security of public transport lines and major events.
Some companies go to China and they prepare their strategies based on what they think is best, rather than what the local customer thinks is best. It's very important to understand not only the language but also the business culture. This is something that Airbus recognised early on.
Airbus: a commitment to grow together with the local industry
China is poised to become the world’s largest aviation market and it is already a major geographical region for Airbus, with Chinese deliveries representing nearly a quarter of the company’s global production.
The country is also home to a growing number of Airbus manufacturing and support operations – including its first assembly line outside of Europe, inaugurated in Tianjin in September 2008. This joint venture between Airbus and a Chinese consortium of Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC) runs until 2025.
As part of this framework, a new Airbus A330 Completion and Delivery Centre (C&DC) in Tianjin was formally inaugurated in September 2017, coinciding with the facility’s initial A330 delivery. The C&DC, co-located at the same site as the A320 Family Final Assembly Line and the Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre, is Airbus’ first widebody centre outside of Europe. The facility performs A330 completion activities that include cabin installation, aircraft painting and production flight test, as well as customer flight acceptance and aircraft delivery.
Other Airbus facilities set up through partnerships with local companies include:
- A customer support centre in Beijing that can dispatch some 25,000 spare parts to airlines in the Asia-Pacific region
- A training centre in Beijing, which contains 5 full flight simulators, 3 for the A320 Family, 1 for the A330/A340 Family and 1 for H225 helicopter
- An engineering centre in Beijing and a composite manufacturing centre in Harbin
Airbus not only values its relationship with airlines in China, it also appreciates the enormous potential offered by Chinese industry. Currently, on all airbus commercial aircraft types there are parts produced by Chinese companies. The total value of Airbus and the Chinese aviation industry’s cooperation reached around $500 million in 2015.
Industrial partnerships for the development of the H135 and H145
China has passed reforms that will help to open up low-altitude airspace in the next couple of years, handing flight control from the military to civil aviation authorities. With only approximately 500 civil helicopters currently in service in the whole of China, this will open up huge possibilities for growth. China is set to become the world’s largest market with more than 150 deliveries per year expected by 2020.
Airbus Helicopters has been China’s No. 1 helicopter partner for more than 50 years. This long-lasting relationship began in 1967 with the delivery of the first Alouette III, followed by several cooperation agreements for the AS365 Dauphin, H120 Colibri, and H175/AC352 helicopters. Today, Airbus Helicopters is the leader with 40% market share and around 200 helicopters sold across the country.
In June 2016, a Chinese consortium ordered 100 H135 light-twin helicopters, becoming China’s first customer to form an industrial partnership to launch a H135 final assembly line (FAL) in Qingdao, Shandong province.
This historic agreement follows the production contract for the development of the H175 signed in 2014, covering more than 1,000 units in 20 years. The H175, also known as the AC352 in China, is being developed as part of cooperation between Airbus Helicopters and Chinese manufacturer Avicopter.
Airbus Helicopter's growing presence in China
We will produce over 1,000 H175/AC352 helicopters at 2 manufacturing lines, one in Marignane and one in Harbin, northeast China
Airbus Helicopters has offices in 7 different locations in China, including a regional customer service centre and logistics platform at Hong Kong airport. It is also one of the major shareholders at CGAMEC, a maintenance company based in Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong, which handles the company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul activities in China.
A H225 full flight simulator is located within the Airbus Hua-Ou training centre in Beijing, which has been established in 1997.
Selling satellite imagery in China since 1988
Despite the obvious restrictions involved in accessing the Chinese defence sector, Airbus Defence and Space has also forged valuable links with a variety of companies to help it provide better service to a growing local customer base in several areas.
Airbus Defence and Space has been active in China since 1998. It has worked together with a private partner, Beijing Eastdawn Information Technology, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, to distribute satellite imagery and software to government agencies and other customers.
Meanwhile, the company has also won a number of major contracts in the field of Professional Mobile Radio, including the provision of integrated solutions that guaranteed the security of 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Airbus Defence and Space has also deployed TETRA radio systems in airports and metro lines all over the country.
Did you know?
> 170 locations Airbus operates in more than 170 locations worldwide