Head East And Gun The Engines

A sense of gloom hangs over General Electric Co.'s sprawling jet-engine plant in Cincinnati, where the work force is shrinking from 17,000 two years ago to 8,000 early next year. Halfway across the world, though, it's a different story. Managers in the Beijing office of GE's engine division are competing flat-out against Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce PLC to secure orders in the world's hottest aviation market. China's airline industry plans to buy 100 widebody aircraft engines a year. "China has become a strategic battleground," says David Voeller, president of GE Aircraft Engines' China division.

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