CIIE 2020: Honeywell plans to expand its China business despite trade tensions
By Wang Tianyu and Huo Li
Editor's note: The third China International Import Expo commenced as scheduled on November 4 in Shanghai as the Asian giant bounces back from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, showing signs of accelerated economic growth. CGTN brings you exclusive reports and interviews from the six-day trade carnival.
The U.S.-based industrial conglomerate Honeywell traces its history in China back to 1935 when the company set up a franchise in Shanghai. Starting in the early 1970s, the company has kept itself in step with China's industrial expansion.
Against the backdrop of rising trade tensions among the world's key economies, and with the COVID-19 crisis ossifying global trade, Honeywell plans to expand its China business. The aerospace giant is showcasing a new range of health-themed products at this year's China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.
CGTN spoke to Scott Zhang, president of Honeywell China, for his insights on the changes being experienced in China's business environment as he reveals the company's future plans for the Chinese market.
The following are excerpts from the interview, which have been edited for clarity and brevity.
CGTN: How is this year's CIIE different for Honeywell?
Zhang: This year, we are looking to have new products, new solutions [be] demonstrated to our customers. Obviously, COVID-19 made people's lives different. We have many new solutions and products which are health-related, such as healthy hospital, healthy building, and healthy aircraft. It's more go to market strategy. And especially from last year, we [have] generated a lot of interest among our customers and partners right at the CIIE.
CGTN: How are you responding to rising trade tensions among the world's key economies?
Zhang: There are certain things we cannot control, such as trade tensions, and also the COVID-19 spreading. However, we [can] focus on our businesses, we [can] focus on our growth. We focus [on] our market, which is in China. We want to make sure we meet our customers' demands. We meet our customers' needs. We identify new opportunities and grow our business.
CGTN: What's your view of the changing business environment in China?
Zhang: We came to China in the early 1970s. Actually, when Nixon visited China, we [had] already started business in China. So we are in China [for] over 40 years. And we also grew with China. We also grew with the Chinese economy.
There are major milestones, we moved our Asia headquarters from Singapore to Shanghai in 2003. And since then, our business [has] grown seven times. And our local employees grew from 4,000 to over 10,000. So this is a significant growth in the Chinese market, [and] in the region.
We enjoy a lot of the business environment. And we do feel the environment changes every year, which is very favorable for free trade, for the multinational market, and also free to grow.
CGTN: Does Honeywell have plans to expand its business in China?
Zhang: Actually, we continue [to] grow our business in China. Many of you [must have] probably heard that we launched our emerging market headquarters, and also an innovation center in Wuhan, which was right after COVID-19; we had office openings in the middle of August and we also had a celebration in the middle of April. And we are also very honored; our senior leader of China government sent congratulation letters on our Wuhan openings.