Airbus opens first assembly plant outside Europe in China
Aircraft builder Airbus opened an assembly plant in China on Sunday, its first production facility outside of Europe, reported dpa.
Airbus said it viewed the modern facility in the port city of Tianjin one hour to the south-east of the capital Beijing as a "milestone" in the globalization of the company's production.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Airbus head Thomas Enders were both present at the opening ceremony on Sunday.
The investment in the plant was between 8 billion and 12 billion yuan (1.2 billion to 1.8 billion dollars), state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
Four A320 Airbus craft are expected to be assembled at the Tianjin plant each month by 2011 at the latest.
The first aircraft is expected to be delivered to China's Sichuan Airlines in the middle of 2009.
Assembly in Tianjin of parts produced in Europe already was started up in August.
The new assembly plant, which is the equivalent of the modern Airbus facility in Germany's northern city of Hamburg, will primarily target the Chinese market.
Air passengers numbers are predicted to climb by 10 per cent per annum in China.