AccuWeather has signed a 20-year deal with a Chinese meteorological company that will heavily involve AccuWeather’s Wichita office.
The partnership with Huafeng Media Group, the commercial weather media company owned by the China Meteorological Administration, will allow businesses and residents in China to get more and better weather information.
“AccuWeather is pleased to introduce Huafeng-AccuWeather, a groundbreaking endeavor with China to serve the China market,” said Barry Lee Myers, CEO of AccuWeather. “AccuWeather’s technical and meteorological innovations, including our unique forecasting products and longer-range forecasts, will provide new value to the people of China. We are committed to providing forecasts … that offer the most innovative weather information available, helping people in all parts of the world to make informed decisions, protect their property and business interest and protect the lives of citizens.”
The joint venture is a tremendous achievement for AccuWeather, said Mike Smith, senior vice president and chief innovation executive. But even more importantly, it means saving more lives in extreme weather events, such as tornadoes and floods.
AccuWeather’s corporate offices are in State College, Pa., but it also has operations in downtown Wichita, where Smith works.
“The Wichita office will be heavily involved,” said Smith, noting that a group from China was in Wichita for training last September as part of the negotiations for the venture. He said the partnership will focus primarily on extreme weather, which is also a focus of the Wichita office.
Going forward, the new company Huafeng-AccuWeather (Beijing) Co. Ltd. will use AccuWeather’s hardware, software and expertise to provide forecasts over a wide geographic range.
Just how big the venture grows will depend on contracts the new company can sign with entities in China.
“We already have a small office (in Beijing) now, and that will be growing,” Smith said.
Some Wichita personnel will go to China to help launch the partnership and help it grow, he said. And staff from China will be coming to Wichita for training.
“We’ve added two meteorologists in anticipation of this,” Smith said of the Wichita operations, and more will be added as the partnership gets a better idea of the personnel and training needs.