Topic Author
Posts: 639
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 1999 5:00 pm

The Chinese RJ Strategy?

Tue Apr 20, 2004 4:31 pm

Hello all,

I must admit my confusion with the "Chinese" strategy in terms of regional jets. Perhaps one of you can help me understand. There is a joint venture between Embraer and AVIC 2 to assemble and sell Embraer Regional Jets in China. As I am sure you all know, the Embraer Jets are certified and have captured quite a lot of industry and media attention.

Another program that has gotten quite a lot of media attention is the possibility of the Chinese taking control of the on-again, off-again Dornier 728 & 928 programs. Unlike the Embraer Regional Jets - the Dornier jets have not been certified. Nevertheless, these programs went under just before certification, so certification could likely take place fairly quickly with an adequate infusion of money.

If two regional jet programs were not enough - there is also the ACAC (AVIC I) ARJ21 program, which is in the very early development stages. If ACAC is able to keep to their very aggressive schedule, the ARJ21 should have CAAC (China's equivalent to the FAA or JAA) certification in early 2008.

Clearly, the Chinese Market has enormous potential for growth - in particular in Western China. However, in my opinion – the Chinese involvement in 3 different regional jet programs at three very different stages of development - not only surpasses China's future market requirements but dilutes the Chinese Aerospace efforts. Equally important, any success the Embraer or a resurrected Dornier programs might have would likely directly impact the ARJ21, which is only true "Chinese" program.

Before any of you point out the obvious holes in my statements - let me do it for you. Clearly, referring to the entire Chinese Aerospace as "the Chinese" is a serious mistake on my part. Although, I must admit the difference between AVIC I and AVIC 2 can be a little confusing for an outsider. That being said, even if the Chinese Aerospace industry were divided into several independent and distinct entities - the question still remains – is China’s commitment to three very similar regional jets programs too much (or too little if you look at each program individually.) ?

Admittedly, the second hole in my argument - is that the more attention the media's spotlight is focused on a possible German / Sino revival of the 728/928 programs - the more confusing and less likely it seems that this venture will take off in the near future.

Another point... Would such strategy go much beyond the relative short-term goal of building RJs or it works more as a platform for technology development for new products as we have already seen in other industries? The Chinese government mastered such technique throughout the past years.

The final problem with my argument is any discussion about regional jets excluding Bombardier is flawed. The CRJ700 and 900 are currently doing quite well in the world market. Bombardier have and will continue selling aircraft in China. But including BA in the mix with the 3 other programs – only makes the Chinese strategy more confusing.

Again, if any of you have a more comprehensive vision of the Chinese Strategy, I would be interested in hearing it.

Many cheers!
The fastest way to become a millionaire in the airline business is to start as a billionaire.
Posts: 633
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 1999 12:27 am

RE: The Chinese RJ Strategy?

Tue Apr 20, 2004 9:28 pm


I am quite confused with the strategy too.... however, I think your point about it being a platform for technology development makes sense. China has never produced any successful airliner on its own before. China only produced some licensed MD planes, and the only Chinese jetliner I can think of is a four engined 707 look-alike (forgot the name of the aircraft) which is basically a reverse engineered 707, and only a few were produced. So I quess they really need the experience from those joint ventures to gain technical experience help nurture a new generation of aircraft engineers.

Anyway, I am studying Mechanical Engineering right now, and would like to study aircraft engineering in a foreign country for my postgraduate degree, and I do hope that one day I can have a chance to work in the Chinese aircraft industry. Right now, this industry is tiny, but who knows what happens in a few years time? Things changes SO quickly in China.

Posts: 5411
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2003 12:53 pm

RE: The Chinese RJ Strategy?

Tue Apr 20, 2004 9:51 pm

1) EMB ERJ-145 joint venture is for China's "small" RJ requirements.

2) ARJ-21 is China's indigenous ("national") large RJ project.

3) China just launched a new study for a 150-seat aircraft as a follow on to the ARJ-21. They asked Airbus to participate in the study but were turned down.

4) FD728 project was "bought" by Shanghai private investment company D'Long. Originally, D'Long hoped to have the FD728 "picked" as "national" large RJ aircraft but ARJ-21 project won out. Now, if the FD728 is revived the market will be almost exclusively western.

5) There is a very small market for larger RJ's due to import duties. The larger EMB E170/190, BBD CRJ-700/900 and, if resuscitated, D'Long FD728/928 are all "penalized" with current import duties of 17% which makes them uncompetitive.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein

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