GE, in a vote of confidence for China, has moved the headquarters of its X-Ray division to Beijing. The Wall Street Journal says:
General Electric Co. said it is moving its X-ray business headquarters to China to accelerate sales in the country’s fast-growing health-care market, the latest sign of China’s growing importance to the giant U.S. conglomerate.
The X-ray unit will be the company’s first business to be based in China. The business has already begun the move—which includes the unit’s chief executive and three other members of its executive team—and expects to complete the process by year end, said Anne LeGrand, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare Global X-Ray. The senior leadership team’s move to Beijing is aimed in part at helping develop more medical equipment specifically for the Chinese market, Ms. LeGrand told a news briefing Monday.
GE said it doesn’t expect the move to result in any job losses in the U.S., where the unit has been based in Waukesha, Wis. The Wisconsin X-ray division has 120 employees. The company also said it is too early to say how many employees it will hire for the unit’s new Beijing headquarters.
“As the company grows more global, it’s increasingly important for us to become close to our customers,” Ms. LeGrand said, adding that she expects 20% to 25% of GE Healthcare’s X-ray products to be developed in China during the next three to five years for sale around the world. . .
GE has long placed high hopes on China, with CEO Jeffrey Immelt in 2008 calling it the company’s “second home market.” In January, the company finalized a deal with state-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China to inject much of GE’s civilian avionics business into a 50-50 joint venture based in China. . .
Last year, GE invested a total of $2 billion in China, $500 million of which was allocated to what it calls customer innovation centers. Ms. LeGrand said most of that chunk was for the X-ray business. GE Healthcare last year launched the Brivo CT, a scaled-down CT scanner for use in China’s less-developed primary-care hospitals, and in 2009, it rolled out a lower-cost digital X-ray device called the Linglong for China.
I’m gonna get me some Linglong, that’s for sure. By the way, Linglong seems to be the name of a major tire company in China, based in Shandong (you can’t make this stuff up, folks):
I’m not sure if GE will produce any PACS software in Beijing, although I assume PACS is used over there. I do hope the Chinese can improve upon some of the current product line, such as our wonderful Centricity Web viewer. As you can see in the little clip below, when you scroll through a study using the mouse wheel, you risk seizing (or wondering if there is an earthquake, which there indeed was on the East Coast today):
Since the US division can’t seem to fix this, maybe Beijing can do something. We can only hope.
I guess Mr. Immelt has found yet another way not to pay US taxes. Maybe GE will invite ME over to the new HQ…wait…Dalai in China? Probably not.