Healthcare Technology Featured Article

July 25, 2011

GE Healthcare HQ Moving From Wisconsin to China


As go the smaller companies, so goes the giant. General Electric Co.’s healthcare unit, which claims to be the world’s biggest maker of medical-imaging machines, announced today it will shift the headquarters for its century-old X-ray business to China to take advantage of emerging opportunities there, in a story from Bloomberg News posted at sfgate.com.

The story reports that “a handful” of top managers will move to Beijing, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, and to reassure nervous employees, there will “be no job cuts,” Anne LeGrand, vice president and general manager of X-ray for GE Healthcare, said in an interview.  The larger GE family plans to invest about $2 billion across China, and some of this will include opening six “customer innovation” and development centers, according to the story.

Earlier this year GE Healthcare announced “Spring Wind,” its initiative to develop and distribute medical products and services in China, GE said in a statement today, according to the story, which also noted LeGrand said that more than 20 percent of the X-Ray unit’s new products will be developed in China.

GE is currently planning to spend $500 million on the six research centers, according to an AP story posted at newser.com. The story reports that the company has already hired “close to 100 engineers” for its center in Chengdu, in central China, as stated by LeGrand.

“We anticipate it’s going to be a growing modality,” LeGrand told Bloomberg.news, adding that her division expects to show “double-digit” growth rates as the country switches from old technologies like film and analog to digital X-Ray technology. “When you look at a market like China, it’s primarily analog. So we feel this will also bring digital technology at an appropriate price-point,” LeGrand told Bloomberg.news.

The Globe and Mail reported that Rachel Duan, president and CEO of GE Healthcare China, told the AP that the company plans “to launch more than 20 new products in China over the next two years,” with 70 per cent of those aimed at primary care general medical professionals.

The General Electric Healthcare unit is the first GE business to relocate to China, according to newser.com.

GE Healthcare said in the Bloomberg story that China provided about $1.1 billion of its $16.9 billion in sales last year. Research firm Epsicom said in the story that health-care device markets will be a healthy market this year, forecasted to more than double in 2011.

Benjamin Fox, a company spokesman, said that about 60,000 people work at GE Healthcare worldwide, including 820 in the X-ray business.

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Deborah DiSesa Hirsch is an award-winning health and technology writer who has worked for newspapers, magazines and IBM in her 20-year career. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell






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