GE and China: Growing Market Overseas, More Jobs at Home

There have been several stories in the media recently about GE and China. Many of them have distorted the facts about the nature of GE’s business in China and especially the impact of that business on jobs here at home. The truth is that expanding into new markets and selling to more customers—whether in China or any other large, growing international market—means more GE jobs in the U.S., now and in the future.

With $17 billion in U.S. exports in 2010, GE is the nation’s second largest manufacturing exporter. GE makes the world’s most advanced energy, aviation, healthcare and transportation technology,at plants across the U.S., and sells these products all over the world. In the last ten years alone, GE has doubled its exports from the U.S., which has supported American jobs. In the last ten years, revenue from outside of the U.S. has grown from 35 percent of GE’s total in 2001 to a projected 60 percent in 2011, while more than 50% of the company’s industrial workforce remains in the U.S.

GE Aviation Joint Venture in China

recent story in the Washington Post examined a joint venture between GE Aviation and the Aviation Industry Corporation of China involving avionics technology. GE started doing business in China in 1906; it’s not a new direction for the company. China’s civil aviation market is one of the fastest growing in the world and has enormous potential for continuing growth. It is a key imperative for GE and the U.S. to participate in this growth.

The Post story accurately states that the partnership will create hundreds of jobs in the United States, which will mainly be in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Clearwater, Florida. In all, GE Aviation’s business in China translates to more than 1,800 high-tech jobs in the U.S.

GE has ensured that rigorous protections are in place to protect our intellectual property. The partnership will create new technologies, and both parties have every interest in protecting intellectual property, which will be a key asset of the venture. This is purely a commercial avionics venture and involves no military applications.

GE Healthcare X-Ray Division

At the end of July, GE Healthcare announced it would move 4 executives of the X-Ray Division to China to lead the development of specific products for use in China. Subsequent media reports inaccurately described the announcement – GE is not moving its entire X-Ray Division to China. The team on the ground in China will develop X-Ray products suited to the specific needs of the Chinese market: for example, Chinese hospitals in rural markets require very basic products. This on the ground business development will help support jobs at home.

GE’s overall business in China—across all divisions—will support nearly 4,500 American jobs, including those along GE’s U.S. supply chain.

For more on GE’s manufacturing expansion in the U.S., check out our “Jobs” section, and our map showing locations in the U.S. where GE has announced over 8,000 new jobs in the last 18 months.

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