The Associated Press is reporting that General Electric Co. expects sales in China to double in the next four to five years, while its Chinese researchers should play a growing role creating products for global markets, according to chairman Jeff Immelt.
Immelt also announced that he signed an agreement with the Chinese government to spend up to $50 million in China over the next five years developing more environmentally friendly technologies.
GE's revenues in China last year totaled nearly $5 billion. Immelt said GE is expanding a Shanghai research center that employs 2,000 Chinese engineers and is expected to produce new power generation, water filtration and other products.
''Not only do I view China as a market, but I also view it as a center of excellence in technology and manufacturing that can benefit all of our products around the world,'' said Immelt, who has described China in the past as critical to Fairfield, CT-based GE's future, supplying new markets and products but also creating potential competitors.
He said GE, which gets 35 percent of its revenues from railways and other ''infrastructure industries,'' expects to benefit from China's heavy investments in coming years in new power plants, railways, airports and other public projects.