China Aviation Industry Corp II (AVIC II) looks set to move into the global arena by becoming a listed company.
AVIC II President Zhang Yanzhong said preparation work for his corporation's listing on the domestic or Hong Kong stock exchanges has been proceeding well.
"We expect to establish a shareholding company at sometime around the end of this year," Zhang told China Daily in an exclusive interview.
"We are trying to get the new company listed as early as possible," he said.
The listing of this major aviation corporation-it supplies the bulk of the nation's aircraft, including all types of helicopters- is to include all of its major business units, with the exception of some core areas relating to the military, said Zhang .
The moneys raised by the flotation will be used to boost funding for aeroplane, helicopter and mini-van manufacture, he said.
"Time is basically ripe for us to establish a large international company group, as we already have much experience in re-organizing and listing smaller industrial firms," the president noted.
AVIC II already has six sub-member companies listed on the domestic stock exchange.
According to Zhang, AVIC II will produce eight new types of civil and general use aircraft models, including helicopters, passenger jets and training aircraft in the next three to five years.
The central government's decision to develop the western part of the country and the success of Beijing's bid to host the 2008 Olympics will open further opportunities for the use of aircraft, said the president.
The obtaining of the type certificates, from the relevant authorities, for the Zhi-9 helicopter model, Zhi-11 and H410A helicopter models, and the Sino-foreign made EC-120 helicopter models in the past two years, made possible the application of the craft.
At present, China has less than 80 helicopters in operation for general use, which means that for every 1 million people, there are only 0.06 helicopters.
This is far less than the world average of 3.9 helicopters per million.
China will need about 1,800 helicopters, worth some US$4.9 billion by 2013, Zhang predicted.
The development of the country's helicopter industry will be chiefly reliant upon itself, said Zhang.
Adding that China intends to increase co-operation with foreign companies.
The successful co-operation between France, Singapore and China over the 5-seat EC120 helicopter was such an example.
Helicopters are widely used around the world because they are easy to fly and convenient for landing on limited ground space.
Thanks to rapid development in China, the country is now more interested in such craft and helicopter flying hours are expected to increase by 26.4 percent a year in the coming decade, said Zhang.
AVIC II, founded in the late 1990s following the break-up of the old China Aviation Industry Corp, is now under the direct control of the central government.
(China Daily October 28, 2002)