In a series of vast hangars, dozens of Chinese technicians swarm over fuselages of Airbus A320 planes, foot soldiers in the battle to dominate what will become the world's largest aircraft market.
The nearly completed aircraft at the
Since it opened in 2008, the plant has effectively acted as a showcase for
Early controversy over technology transfer, the safety of the aircraft assembled at the plant and comparatively lower salaries of Chinese workers appears to be forgotten.
Now negotiations to extend the joint venture beyond its original 10-year shelf-life are entering the final stages.
"Since we decided to set up here, our market share in
Some 20 percent of the worldwide production of
For now, it still lags
But its 1,000th Chinese delivery took place on
It is a conservative goal given the boom in Chinese air traffic, Chen said. According to
"This is what has made the difference" in the fight against
Around 160 medium-range A320 aircraft have so far been assembled in
When it opened it had 133 foreign employees, a figure that now stands at 32.
"Local final assembly means more of the aircraft's value is kept in
On Wednesday Airbus reported net profit of
The deal was originally agreed to extend till 2016.
"Discussions are underway to renew and significantly deepen this partnership," French Foreign Minister
Chen told AFP he was "confident" a deal would be reached in time for signature when Chinese President
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