By Fang Yan and Kang Xise
BEIJING (Reuters) - Boeing
"Historically, we have been China's favorite partner and historically we have had the upside of the market share," said Ihssane Mounir, Boeing's senior vice president for sales and marketing for commercial airplanes in China and Korea.
"For the next 5,000 aircraft in a market we compete in, a market we provide aircraft in, we would like to remain 50 percent if not better," he told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday on the sidelines of an industry event.
Boeing, which competes with European rival Airbus
"The growth of travel follows ... economic growth. If you were to draw a correlation, aviation will grow very slowly in most parts of the world because of the current recession ... However, when you look at China we will continue to see growth in or at double-digit for the next 20 years," he said.
China, the world's third-largest aircraft market after the United States and Europe, will likely take the number two spot as its commercial jet fleet, currently 1,700-1,800, triples in size over the next 20 years, Mounir said.
MORE SOURCING FROM CHINA
Unlike Airbus, which is making its workhorse A320 in the northern Chinese municipality of Tianjin, Boeing has opted not to assembly jets in China.
However, it has been sourcing components from more than 35 suppliers in China, including tail sections, vertical fins and horizontal stabilizers, and operates an aircraft conversion joint venture. Mounir expected the number of suppliers to grow.
"We are always looking at partners all over the world," he said. "It just so happens that China is one of the most innovative countries in the world, if not the most. And I am sure, because of that, there will be more coming out of China."
(Editing by Ken Wills and Dan Lalor)