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Planet Ark World Environment News GE Says China Sales Could Soar Amid Energy Drive

Date: 30-May-06
Country: CHINA

The International Energy Agency has said China needs to spend US$2.5 trillion by 2030 to meet its energy needs, but as a result of the country's already dynamic growth, pollution has become major issue because 70 percent of China's energy comes from dirty-burning coal.

It also frets about a growing dependence on imported oil, and so has pledged to double the portion of energy it gets from renewable sources by 2020.

"We are working closely with our customers and government in China to bring our new ideas in (clean) technologies to see that they are applied in China," chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt told reporters at a press conference on Monday.

"We think business in China could double in four or five years. It's energy ... it's rail, it's locomotive, it's oil and gas, and the financial services associated with that," he said.

GE had sales of US$5 billion in China last year, about 3 percent of total sales, and employed almost 13,000 workers there.

On Monday, the company also signed an agreement with China's National Development and Reform Commission to develop advanced environmentally friendly technologies.

Immelt said one example of these new technologies was coal gasification, which he said could generate energy as cleanly as natural gas, but at a cost that is close to pulverised coal.

"You have technology that is truly creating advancement for the economy, we will get paid for it and our customer will be better off," he said.

The country plans to expand energy production with an extra 72 gigawatts of new capacity expected this year, rising from 66 gigawatts installed in 2005. Britain has total installed capacity of about 80 gigawatts.

GE gets 35 to 40 percent of its revenue from infrastructure products, which it says makes it a good fit with the goals of the Chinese government as Beijing modernises and expands the economy.

China's significance to GE's overall strategy was also growing beyond the geographic borders of the mainland.

"Almost everything we do here we think has global applicability," he said.
(US$=8.02 yuan)

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