After more than a year of construction, Chicago-based Boeing is set to unveil their finishing plant in Zhoushan, China. To commemorate the occasion, the company finished production on a 737 MAX jet – the prominent model planned to come out of the plant – and delivered it to Air China.
The plant intends to be the finishing destination for approximately 100 planes a year, which will be assembled stateside in Washington and flown to China for finishing and painting. Finishing entails installing all of the interior passenger amenities expected in a commercial plane such as seats, lavatories, television screens and lighting.
China is set to become one of the biggest markets for planemakers as the growing Chinese middle class expands and the need and desire to travel expands with them. The country is currently one of the largest importers of planes from both Boeing and Airbus, with approximately 25% of all Boeing planes built being destined for China. The Boeing finishing plant cements the company’s dedication to nurturing and expanding this relationship despite growing trade tensions between the countries. In addition to importing planes and finishing them, Chinese companies are increasing investment in domestic plane manufacturing to rely less on Boeing and Airbus while potentially serving as a plane provider for the wider global market.
Boeing’s relationship with China is an interesting case of a major manufacturer serving as an example of beneficial cooperation. In the end, it’s in the best interest of the United States to have a Chinese economy that’s developing and thriving so it can continue to pay for the goods and services the United States can offer, which translates to more and more American jobs to fill those orders for planes, cars and other goods.
How this example acts as a measuring stick for other large industries working across the globe will be telling of the eventual trade landscape over the next several years. What do you think of the Boeing announcements and the general state of the airplane industry? Let us know in the comments below.