Airbus to Open Innovation Center in China

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus Group SE has plans to open an innovation center in China by the end of the year to support future products and services. the goal is to tap China’s quickly emerging R&D capabilities.

Former Uber China executive Luo Gang has been appointed the CEO of Airbus’ new innovation center. Luo spent nearly three years establishing Uber China’s business before it was acquired by Didi Chuxing in 2016.

“China is now a powerhouse of innovation and has a strong and complete ecosystem, including hardware, software, artificial intelligence and others,” according to Luo.

Luo will report to Paul Eremenko, the chief technology officer of Airbus. The company is looking to pair its European-based engineers with global talent. “Our strategy is to assess global innovation hot spots for specific types of technologies, and develop a presence in these locations that allows us to interface with startups, universities, research laboratories and other partners,” Eremenko said.

Airbus said its innovation center is designed to strengthen the company’s current innovation ecosystem. It also seems like a prudent step for a company which will rely heavily on Chinese airlines in the decades to come.