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ABB energized for major expansion drive

2014-03-27 16:41 China Daily Web Editor: qindexing
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Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB, which has a footprint in more than 100 cities in China, is preparing to double that number over the next three years, especially in the country's central and western regions after good sales in 2013.

Ulrich Spiesshofer, chief executive officer of ABB Group, said the company will have 20,000 people working in China soon. He added there are many growth drivers such as energy-efficient technologies and infrastructure in the Chinese economy.

"We are making changes to carry out a strong penetration strategy to go west in China, to add additional cities, to go more into second-, third- and fourth-tier cities over the coming years," Spiesshofer said.

He added the opportunities the company sees arise from China's urbanization. China is emphasizing quality urban development, as well as "green", low-carbon and sustainable growth such as promoting the use of electric vehicles and building a high-efficiency grid network.

"If we look at the speed of urban development here in China, the way that the regulatory environment and the infrastructure development come together is remarkable and unique," Spiesshofer said.

The CEO added the consequences of the planning and perseverance that the central and local governments show in building prospering cities is something that is so strong that some other parts of the world can learn from it.

The populations of many of China's second-and third-tier cities are a lot bigger than other major cities in the world. Building ultra-high voltage power transmission networks and developing new-energy vehicle projects, as well as providing more industrial robots, are useful ways of keeping up with the process of urbanization and optimizing the nation's manufacturing structure.

Because of the boom in China's industrial upgrading, both orders and revenue of ABB China reached $5.6 billion in 2013. Its revenue rose 7.7 percent from the previous year. The company invested $136 million in the country last year. Its cumulative China investment has reached $1.8 billion.

Eager to carry out further economic transformation and industrial upgrading, many Chinese cities and enterprises have been eager to seek solutions and tackle problems caused by heavy automobile use and air pollution.

The importance of improving the environment was underlined by figures from the Ministry of Environmental Protection in February that showed 70 percent of Chinese cities failed to meet new air quality standards.

"China is the largest automotive market in the world in terms of new vehicles built at the moment," Spiesshofer said.

"If you look at the environmental situation and the technology capabilities of this country, I think this is really an opportunity for China to leapfrog other parts of the world and become a very strong player."

New-energy vehicles are one of China's seven emerging strategic industries. China is expected to have a production capacity of 2 million and a cumulative sales volume of more than 5 million by 2020.

Denza, the first electric vehicle of Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co, is designed for journeys of 200 kilometers and is among the first long-range electric vehicles to go on sale in China.

ABB has built a strong partnership with the company to supply direct-current fast chargers and develop fast-charging methods, fueling the development of this advanced electric car.

Sun Fuquan, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development in Beijing, said even though China's gross domestic product growth was lower in 2013 than in previous years, green-energy products and related investment obviously add to prosperity - and both benefit the economy and the environment in the long term.

By the end of 2013, ABB drive products had saved up to 201 billion kilowatt hours of electric power in the China market, enough to power a city of 20 million people for 2.5 years. Its high-efficiency motors also helped China save 410 million kWh of power last year, equivalent to reducing approximately 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

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