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August 7, 2009

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Jet maker decides to fly with local talent

AFTER a highly publicized global search for foreign managers to help it modernize, China's main military jet maker has hired six executives - all of them Chinese, a company spokesman said yesterday.

Aviation Industry Corp of China announced in February it wanted "new blood" from overseas to help it compete in commercial aviation.

AVIC received nearly 1,000 applications from 20 countries, and 10 foreign nationals were among 67 people in the final round of interviews, said AVIC spokesman Ding Zhiyong.

Ding said he did not know why only Chinese nationals were hired.

"Maybe there was a mismatch between the recruits and the posts," he said. "We are still in contact with some candidates for experts posts. Some of them might not fit into management posts, but they are very skillful."

Government-owned AVIC is trying to develop aircraft including a 150-seat jetliner to compete with Boeing and Europe's Airbus.

The new managers, who include a former Chinese deputy mayor, will be vice presidents of AVIC's defense, aircraft, helicopter, investment and international divisions, Ding said. He said several have doctorates or master's degrees from foreign universities.

The Beijing-based company said in February it wanted to hire 13 vice presidents to help improve production, marketing and management in divisions including defense, a job it said might be open to a non-Chinese citizen.

AVIC said it would be the first time a Chinese military enterprise "lifted its veil of secrecy" by bringing in foreign executives.

A growing number of Chinese companies including personal computer manufacturer Lenovo Group and auto maker SAIC Motor Corp have hired foreign executives to fill gaps in skills as they try to expand into global markets.


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