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BOEING PHOTO BY - Yukui Wang
Long before Steven Jiang joined Boeing's operations in China in 2000, he knew Boeing's jets inside and out.
Jiang began his aviation career as an airplane mechanic, working on Boeing 707, 747, 737, and 767 jetliners. Now, as a senior technical specialist, Jiang provides technical support to Chinese airline personnel and the Civil Aviation Administration of China.
"My background is in maintenance and engineering and part of my job is conducting evaluations of airlines' maintenance processes."
Jiang is part of a legacy of cooperation between Boeing and China's aerospace industry, a story that's now on display at the "Boeing Dreamscape" exhibit at Shanghai Expo 2010. With a projected attendance of 76 million people, the Shanghai Expo is expected to be the largest international exposition in history.
"Being a part of this world expo means a lot to Boeing because of our long history of partnership with the Chinese aerospace industry," said David Wang, president of Boeing China.
In 1916, when Bill Boeing sought the first aeronautical engineer for his fledgling company, he hired Wong Tsoo, a Chinese graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tsoo went on to design the Model C seaplane, Boeing's first production airplane.
"The potential growth in demand for air travel as China's economy grows is staggering," Jim Simon, vice president of China sales.
Today, Jiang is one of 150 Boeing employees working in China, while another 6,100 work for Boeing joint ventures and subsidiaries there. And all of Boeing's current commercial airplanes, from the 737 to the 787 Dreamliner, incorporate parts made in China.
Going forward, Boeing leaders say the company's future depends upon success in the China market because of the country's phenomenal growth.
In the past nine years, the commercial airline fleet in China has more than doubled to more than 1,300 airplanes. The number of commercial airline passengers soared from 83 million to 202 million during that same period, according to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Between now and 2028, Chinese airlines are expected to purchase 3,770 new airplanes -with a market value of $400 billion, according to Boeing's latest Commercial Market Outlook.
"It's the largest market outside the U.S. for commercial airplanes, period," said Jim Simon, the Boeing vice president who oversees sales in China. "The potential growth in demand for air travel as China's economy grows is staggering."
Boeing is not the only airplane manufacturer vying for a piece of this important market. Airbus has been as active as Boeing in courting orders from Chinese airlines. Last May, the first Airbus A320 assembled in a new joint venture plant in Tianjin took to the air. Additionally, China's aerospace industry is preparing to produce its own commercial airplanes, starting with a 737-size model, in the next five years.
"That's going to happen. We have to find a way in China to both partner and compete," said Randy Tinseth, Boeing vice president of Marketing. "I'm confident we can find a way through that."
David Wang said Boeing can benefit by communicating more with the Chinese public about how Boeing's presence and programs add real value across the nation.
The Shanghai Expo is just the venue to continue this conversation. The "Boeing Dreamscape" exhibit is within the USA Pavilion, which on its own is expected to draw 7 million visitors. The expo started May 1 and runs through the end of October.
Can't make it to Shanghai? You can still experience the "Boeing Dreamscape" by visiting www.boeingdreamscape.com. There you will see some of the photographs that have been submitted to the "Boeing Dreamscape" exhibit and also have an opportunity to upload your own images.