Today’s announcement that Cessna Aircraft will team with state-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China (AVIC) to build business jets in the western China city Chengdu should not be a surprise. Cessna, and all the city’s general aviation companies, have long eyed the potential of the burgeoning China market.
Aviation reporter Molly McMillin reported last July that Cessna was in talks with AVIC about collaborating on a business jet. And Cessna, of course, already manufactures its light sport aircraft, the two-seat Skycatcher, in Shenyang.
I just started reading a book about General Motors’ entry into China in the 1990s, “American Wheels, Chinese Roads: The Story of General Motors in China.” The book, by Michael J. Dunne, offers some insights into what American manufacturers can expect when they set up operations in China.
For the sake of transparency, I will mention that Dunne grew up in the Detroit area and went to the University of Michigan, as I did. I also was his youth baseball coach way back in the day.