Continued urbanization in China will drive the need for greater infrastructure investment, pointing to tremendous opportunities for Caterpillar, said Doug Oberhelman, chairman and chief executive officer of the US-based construction equipment maker, on Tuesday.
The economic cycle in China has lasted a little longer than expected, said Oberhelman, who attended the China Development Forum held in Beijing from Saturday to Monday.
"At the forum, we saw very specific statistics on China's future urbanization," Oberhelman said at a press conference.
"We are committed to our manufacturing, operation, production and business model here in China," he said.
China's economic growth fell under 8 percent for the first time since 1999 last year, mainly due to the cooling of the manufacturing and property sectors. The government set the full-year growth target for 2013 at 7.5 percent earlier this month.
"This year there remains a good deal of economic uncertainty in the world, and as we always do, we are prepared for any scenario," Oberhelman said.
Edward J. Rapp, who took the role of Caterpillar's group president with responsibility for construction industries at the beginning of the year, said the primary focus for Caterpillar's China strategy is on developing local leaders.
"Out of all our facilities in China, two-thirds are led by local Chinese leaders," Rapp said, adding that Caterpillar plans to install local leaders in all of its Chinese facilities by 2015.
The opening of a power train facility in the city of Wuxi was also announced at the press conference, raising the total number of Caterpillar's operating facilities in China to 24.
Caterpillar's global revenues in 2012 increased 10 percent year on year to 65.88 billion US dollars, down from a 41-percent increase in 2011.