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Caterpillar optimistic about China market

XUZHOU, Jiangsu, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) – The world’s largest construction and mining equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. is upbeat about the Chinese market, citing opportunities created by the ongoing economic transition, according to senior company officials on Thursday.

The U.S. firm is encouraged by the potential for opportunities in the construction, power and mining sectors thanks to nationwide infrastructure and urbanization programs, said Ed Rapp, group president and executive office member of Caterpillar.

“We remain optimistic for the long run,” Rapp told reporters as Caterpillar celebrated its 40th anniversary in China at a plant in the eastern city of Xuzhou.

Chen Qihua, vice president of Caterpillar and chair of Caterpillar China, highlighted opportunities from the Belt and Road Initiative, an extensive cross-border infrastructure network.

“With our global service and supply network, we’re preparing to work with our Chinese partners to participate in the initiative,” Chen said.

China’s transition to innovation-led and green development will also create new areas of growth, and Caterpillar will tap the increasing demand for technology-intensive and energy-efficient excavators, power generators and engine systems, he said.

Caterpillar’s sales in the Asia-Pacific region slumped 25 percent year on year in the third quarter of 2015, primarily due to declines in China and Japan, a company report showed Thursday.

Rapp said the company had been through many cycles in China, but was supported by sound partnerships with local suppliers and dealers during times of stress.

Even though China’s economic growth dipped to a six-year low of 6.9 percent in the third quarter, Rapp noted, “there are many parts of the world that would love to have a growth rate of 6.9 percent.”

Tom Pellette, also group president of Caterpillar., pointed out that the construction industry is under pressure globally, not just in Asia Pacific.

The downturn across the construction, mining and energy sectors forced Caterpillar last month to announce it would cut as many as 5,000 jobs globally by the end of 2016.

The company has to adjust its corporate structure and production plans, but it is committed to development in China for the long term, said Pellette. Enditem

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