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Wednesday, September 23, 2015, 18:24

China to buy 300 Boeing aircraft

By Agencies
China to buy 300 Boeing aircraft
A visitor looks at a display of miniature Boeing passenger aircraft at an aviation expo in Beijing. (Photo / Agencies)

SEATTLE, United States - A group of Chinese companies signed Tuesday a deal with US plane maker Boeing to buy 300 Boeing aircraft.

The deal, signed by China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, ICBC Financial Leasing Co., Ltd., and China Development Bank Leasing with Boeing, was reached during Chinese President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the United States which was kicked off on Tuesday morning.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US plane maker on the promotion of comprehensive strategic cooperation in the civil aviation industry.

State-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, which is better known as COMAC, also signed a cooperation agreement with the U.S. plane maker to build a 737 aircraft assembly center in China.

Xi is due to visit Boeing's Paine Field assembly plant during the Seattle leg of his trip before moving on to Washington, D.C. to meet President Barack Obama.

The assembly plant would be Boeing's first in China and signals its attempt to match its European rival Airbus's Chinese presence as the two rivals step up their efforts to win more business in the country's lucrative aircraft market.

Airbus opened its first assembly line outside of Europe in 2008 with a Tianjin facility that turns out four A320 aircraft per month. In July, Airbus signed a deal for a second completion and delivery center for A330 jets.

Boeing sold a record 155 airplanes last year to customers in China and so far this year a quarter of its jets have been delivered there. The company predicts that over the next two decades China will overtake the US as the world's biggest plane market with demand for 6,330 new airplanes worth an estimated US$950 billion.

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