China Aviation Giant To Recruit Foreign Execs

China's huge state aircraft maker AVIC said on Thursday it will look beyond national borders to recruit foreign executives who can help it compete internationally.

The unusual global recruitment effort comes just months after the Aviation Industry Corporation of China was formed by the merger of two state aircraft makers, focusing on big projects such as a locally developed regional jet to reduce China's reliance on Boeing and Airbus.

The move by the AVIC group, which consists of more than 200 enterprises and 21 listed companies, was out of the norm for a secretive company that also builds the aviation hardware for China's military.

"Our goal is to become globally competitive," Gao Jianshe, the group's executive vice president, told reporters. "And to do that, we need executives with international experience."

The group, which notched up 2008 sales of CNY166 billion yuan (USD$24.3 billion), compared with USD$60.1 billion for Boeing, aims to recruit 13 vice presidents to assist in a broad range of activities including research, asset management, business development and marketing.

The recruitment move comes after Boeing posted an unexpected fourth-quarter loss and said it could cut 10,000 job this year, while expecting more plane order cancellations.

AVIC's move towards globalization is not confined to staff.

State media said last month that China welcomed investors to take a 30 percent stake in its newly incorporated jet engine company -- in which AVIC holds a 40 percent stake -- that supplies engines to the regional jet ARJ21.

China has signed up a total of 208 orders for the ARJ21, unveiled in late 2007, but the vast majority are from domestic carriers.

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