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Despite a string of failures in its previous efforts, there's good reason to believe that China's latest initiative to manufacture aircraft -- the Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (Comac) -- has a decent chance of getting off the ground.
Formed in 2008 by the government, Comac already is taking orders for its two airplanes: the ARJ21 regional jet, and the C919 jumbo jet. With the C919, China is angling for a piece of the single-aisle aircraft category dominated by Airbus and Boeing -- a category that Boeing expects to more than double in fleet size globally by 2029.
But China's goals for Comac go beyond capturing market share. Comac is part of China's codified strategy to develop "national champions" in the aviation and aerospace, automotive, electronics, oil and gas and other key industries, explains Usha Haley, a business professor in New Zealand and authority on China trade policy.
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