Business

Multi-billion-dollar firms push Guangdong province's GDP to US$1.2 trillion in 2016

BY PETE SANKEY
Senior associate editor
sankeyp@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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BEIJING, China — Guangdong province in this Asian country is home to some of China's fastest-growing companies which are becoming household names in several countries across the globe.

Among them is the multi-billion-dollar high-tech company Huawei, which has, in recent years, produced a more affordable smartphone for Jamaicans.

Huawei, which on Monday launched its flagship Mate 10 that carries an artificial intelligence feature, started operations in 1988 and is now one of the leading brands across the globe.

Benjamin Howes, Huawei's senior director of international media affairs in the Corporate Communications Department, told visiting Caribbean and Latin American journalists Sunday that the telecoms outfit, which employs 180,000 workers — 80,000 of whom are research and development (R&D) staff — has annual revenues of US$75 billion. The Chinese firm, which has its head offices in the city of Shenzhen, is now number 83 on the list of global Fortune 500 companies.

According to Howes, Huawei not only makes mobile phones but develops technology for China's growing bike-sharing industry, drone companies, elevators, smart street lights and cameras, self-driving cars, and cloud computing among several other industries. It also makes laptops and smart watches.

In addition, the company has established an ICT solutions portfolio that gives customers advantages in telecom and enterprise networks, devices, and cloud computing.

The company, which supplies products and services in 170 countries, is fully owned by its employees.

Gree Electric Appliances, another Guangdong muti-billion-dollar company, with headquarters in the city of Zhuhai, was founded in 1991. By 2016 it had revenues of US$16 billion and is projecting to earn US$20 billion this year.

The company has eight other operations in China, one in Brazil, and one in Pakistan. Gree's main production line, however, is air conditioning. The company is also involved in the manufacturing of refrigerators, washing machines, dryers and several appliances under the KingHome and Tosot brands. It also recently added mobile phones to its production lines.

Gree has 80,000 employees, 20,000 of whom are provided with houses built for the company.

Spokesperson Rainy Wong of the Latin America Sales Division said the company spends heavily on R&D, and pointed out that the company has registered 7,422 patents.

“An enterprise without high-end products is an enterprise without a future,” reads a sign in the company's massive showroom in Zhuhai.

DJI Innovations, which has its headquarters in Shenzhen, was founded in 2006 by engineer Frank Wang after his graduation from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. It is now one of the world's leading companies in the production of civilian drones — from the smaller versions used for family recreation and photography, to much larger craft used for inspection as well as search and rescue.

Senior Brand Manager Cinzia Palumbo said DJI has 70 per cent of the civilian drone market worldwide. Palumbo said DJI, which has 17 offices across the globe, distributes its products in more than 100 countries.

The company has a workforce of 11,000, and it spends 25 per cent of its budget on R&D. Eighty per cent of DJI's products are exported.

“DJI's technology empowers people to capture images that were previously out of reach. Our flying platforms and camera stabilisation systems redefine perspective and movement,” a company brief said.

These companies are among the major enterprises which helped Guangdong province realise gross domestic product of US$1.2 trillion in 2016, an increase of 7.5 per cent over the previous year.

Guangdong is situated in southern China adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao. It covers a land area of 180,000 square kilometres. The Pearl River — China's third-longest — runs through the province, giving it even more opportunities because of the strategic location of its ports.

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