15 years is nothing but a fleeting moment.
I can still recall the day when a 10-member GE China technology team settled in Shanghai 15 years ago. Back then, we had an unwavering belief in our vision to take advantage of China’s strengths in technology and talent, and set up a China-based R&D center that serves the world. Today, GE China Technology Center (CTC) has become the engine for GE’s growth in China and the world. With 3,000 outstanding R&D personnel, it has covered a wide array of fields, including medical technology, water treatment, energy, aerospace and lighting, and addressed the most urgent needs in China with technological innovation. Our R&D results are driving the construction of China’s primary health care system, promoting the project for shipping natural gas from west to east, and propelling China’s indigenous aircrafts into the blue sky. All of these make me exceptionally proud.
Looking back at the past 15 years, we have evolved from simply providing technical support to the sales department in China and the headquarters in America, or promoting product localization, to focusing on the R&D of innovative technologies for the Chinese market and setting up the Centers of Excellence. Along the way, we have, with passion and dedication to technological innovation, constantly proven ourselves. It is a quantitative to qualitative change. From reverse innovation to collaborative innovation, these distinctive innovation models that take on Chinese characteristics and cater to the market needs have become the trend for a vast majority of foreign R&D institutions in China.
The In China, For China program, officially launched in 2008, has put China at the forefront of GE’s global strategy, and is dedicated to the R&D of products that satisfy the needs of the Chinese market. With a total investment of $250 million, the program has launched 70 R&D results into market. The Brivo CT machine and the new generation of Refinery MBR, for instance, have enjoyed tremendous popularity both at home and abroad. Such reverse innovation has paved the way for GE’s strategic planning and technological improvement in developing countries.
In 2012, we set up China Innovation Centers (CTC) in Chengdu, Xi’an and Harbin. Through collaborative innovation, we have accelerated the R&D and investment in localization in a comprehensive fashion, and introduced clients into the internal innovation process in an all-round manner with the “bringing in and going out” approach, attempting to better cater to our clients’ needs. Not long ago, the launch ceremony of Brivo XR118 (iDR), a digital X-ray imaging system, was held at the CTC Chengdu, and marked the transformation from film to digital images for radiology and injected new vigor into China’s primary health care upgrading and reform.
As one of the first foreign-invested R&D institutions to settle in China, we have attached profound importance to cooperation with local research institutions. We have spared no efforts in training and nurturing future-oriented innovation talents, so as to enhance the overall technological strength of Shanghai and even China. The GE-SJTU Collaborative Research Laboratory, the National Engineering Practice Education Center at Tongji University, the postdoctoral research stations, the GE Edison Engineering Development Program, and the GE Technology Innovation Competition are examples of our commitment to the training and development of science and engineering talents to help them grow and achieve excellence.
Despite having achieved a fair degree of success, one should always endeavor to forge ahead even more. Today, I think more about the future of GE CTC. China has entered a stage of “new normal” where innovation drives sustainable development. The strategic thinking of “Internet +” and “Made in China 2025” will accelerate China’s industrial transformation and upgrading. At the same time, we are confronted with a series of challenges: air pollution, water shortage, aging society, and uneven distribution of medical resources…So what should we do next?
GE has garnered a century of experience in innovation and a clear understanding of local needs after just 15 years in the Chinese market. The Next List of future technologies will combine GE’s cross-industry and diversified R&D strength with its goal and trend in the digital era, namely taking full advantage of clouding, mobile terminals, big data and other emerging technologies and platforms to resolve the major problems relating to Chinese people’s livelihood. Looking ahead 15 years, we will plant our roots deeper in China, open up new possibilities through continuous innovation, address the tough challenges with technology, help build extraordinary China, and launch a new round of future-oriented technological planning: Industrial Internet, Brilliant Factory, Blue Sky Everywhere, Approachable Healthcare, and Move Anytime.
The researchers of GE CTC will collaborate with more than 50,000 other R&D personnel at GE and the top scientists and engineers around the world to conduct ground-breaking research in such key fields as healthcare, energy, transportation, manufacturing and data analysis; lead the new industrial age defined by industrial Internet and brilliant factory; and make the sky bluer, water cleaner, healthcare more accessible, travel more convenient, and peoples’ lives better in China.
Looking into the future, we will never cease in the pursuit of our dreams. Innovate in China, Innovate for China is the dream and commitment of all personnel at the GE CTC. As we forge forward, we will never forget where we started. Let’s look forward to the next 15 years!