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Engineering Materials
China Teams With Boeing to Increase Aircraft Production
4/2/2012

China is increasing manufacturing of large aircraft and of aluminum-lithium alloys for use in the airframe structures of large planes, such as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, shown here landing in Mexico City for the first time on March 7, 2012.   (Source: Boeing)
China is increasing manufacturing of large aircraft and of aluminum-lithium alloys for use in the airframe structures of large planes, such as Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, shown here landing in Mexico City for the first time on March 7, 2012.
(Source: Boeing)

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Beth Stackpole
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China spreads its wings
Beth Stackpole   4/2/2012 7:19:58 AM
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Interesting development and and another example of China's manufacturing and development muscle reaching into every important industry segment. Does this partnership spell more aircraft production to serve the Chinese commercial aircraft market or does it portend China playing a bigger role in providing aircraft for the global commercial aircraft industry at large, or both?

Rob Spiegel
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Re: China spreads its wings
Rob Spiegel   4/2/2012 2:05:05 PM
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Good story, Ann. I agree with Beth, this is an interesting development. On the surface, it looks like a good move to involve China in U.S. industry. I would imagine Boeing will be very, very careful with its IP. This could be a good step toward maturity for China's airline industry.

TJ McDermott
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Re: China spreads its wings
TJ McDermott   4/2/2012 2:06:20 PM
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One wonders about the technology export licensing, and China's abysmal record regarding intellectual property rights.

Mydesign
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Chinas investment in avionics
Mydesign   4/3/2012 5:14:51 AM
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Ann, it seems that like in other areas Chinese government wants an upper hand in avionic sector too. That could be the one reason for Chinese companies for a joint venture in R&D and major investments. anyway they have a major stake in Hardware and associated areas

Beth Stackpole
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Re: China spreads its wings
Beth Stackpole   4/3/2012 8:22:33 AM
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Excellent point, TJ. While China can definitely bring a lot to the table and collaborative efforts are inherently good for industry, there are definite red flags that require close attention. Intellectual property in the aerospace sector certainly has longer legs than IP in the fast-paced world of consumer electronics so it's an issue that requires viligence as part of the partnership terms.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: China spreads its wings
Ann R. Thryft   4/3/2012 8:56:05 AM
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Beth, that's a really, good question that no one is answering. The partnership appears to be aimed at the first possibility: growing the commercial Chinese aircraft market. What Boeing will get out of this is not clear--it may or may not be a cheaper source of aircraft production. That would make a lot of sense--and take away more US jobs.


Ann R. Thryft
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Re: China spreads its wings
Ann R. Thryft   4/3/2012 8:56:51 AM
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I agree with you TJ, China's dismal record on IP rights makes all this sound like it may be good for Boeing in the short term and not so good for the US in the long term, whether this becomes a new source of cheaper aircraft for Boeing or not.


Beth Stackpole
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Re: China spreads its wings
Beth Stackpole   4/3/2012 9:00:45 AM
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Cheaper source of manufacturing, maybe, but what about quality issues. Given the track record regarding poor quality for simple things like children's toys and food products, I'm not so sure I'd want to get on an aircraft produced in a factory that isn't governed by the same viligent standards that the U.S. and other countries uphold.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: China spreads its wings
Ann R. Thryft   4/3/2012 9:13:27 AM
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Beth, I'm completely with you on this and have the same concerns. I've often heard it said that China can manufacture really good quality products or really low-quality products, depending on what they are asked to do and how much they are paid. That's true in general of contract manufacturing. However, for things like airplanes and baby's formula I think there's a lot of cause for concern with how strictly, and consistently, quality standards are enforced.


tekochip
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A little leery
tekochip   4/3/2012 9:26:51 AM
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I have to admit that I'm also a little leery of sharing technology with a government and society that has such a horrible history of ignoring intellectual property and copyright laws. Both consumer and semiconductor sectors are flooded with pirated goods and I shudder to think that these same companies will be manufacturing aircraft and avionics with the blessing of Boeing. This is one of the few industries where the US still has a strong presence, and I hate to think that we would give away the keys to the kingdom for a little instant profit.


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