Caterpillar upbeat on China's economy, industry growth

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/9/21 7:29:46

US heavy machinery giant Caterpillar is optimistic about China's economic outlook in the coming years and expects steady market growth in the country, a company executive said Wednesday.

The company unveiled three new-generation hydraulic excavators during a construction machinery exhibition held in Beijing Wednesday.

"We see stable growth for the Chinese economy in the next two to three years. We are optimistic about that," said Chen Qihua, vice president of Caterpillar Inc. and chairman of Caterpillar China. "We also expect steady growth for our industry -- no huge growth, but sustainable growth."

After a nearly five-years downturn, China's excavator industry has been picking up since the second half of last year.

In the first eight months of 2017, more than 85,000 excavators were sold in the country, up over 111 percent year on year, according to the China Construction Machinery Association.

Chen attributed surging sales to strong demand from infrastructure and real estate projects, improvement in the mining sector supported by rising coal prices, as well as low bases in previous years.

Urbanization, rural construction, the Belt and Road Initiative and the increase of public-private partnerships drove up infrastructure sector demand, Chen told reporters.

He predicted that the excavator sales for the year would reach 11,000, while expecting the market growth to slow to a sustainable pace in the coming years.

Along with the industrial turnaround, Caterpillar saw its China business grow, and expanded investment in the country.

In August, Caterpillar celebrated the sale of 20,000 mini hydraulic excavators in China. This week, the company's Suzhou plant in the eastern Jiangsu Province witnessed its 20,000th machine roll off the production line.

Earlier this year, Caterpillar announced it would increase investment into its plant in Wujiang in Jiangsu to expand its capacity.

Damien Giraud, vice president of Caterpillar's global construction and infrastructure division, highlighted the fact that the new-generation excavators, which are more energy-efficient, productive and smart, were first released in China, instead of the United States or Europe.

Chen hailed Wednesday's debut of the new excavators as a new milestone for the company's development in China.

"We aim to build the world's highest-quality and most valuable industrial chain in China," Chen said.


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