Three Chinese companies will buy the planes, and Boeing will build a completion plant in China, according to Xinhua. Fred Katayama reports.
Chinese president Xi Jinping has a big gift for the U.S. on his visit to Seattle. Xinhua says three Chinese companies will buy 300 jets from Boeing potentially worth tens of billions of dollars. Just last month, Boeing upped its forecast for China's aircraft demand over the next two decades by 5 percent to more than 6300 aircraft. Aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia of Teal Group said, "China is about the most important market with about 15 to 16 percent of the total market. It's one of the few long term growth stories that the world has despite the difficulties of the Chinese economy and equities market." Xi won't leave empty handed. Industry observers say Boeing will build a completion plant in China, where interiors are installed and planes are painted. Analysts say that could help boost sales there and take on a challenge by a local aircraft company that's developing a competitor to the 737. And Boeing's archrival, Airbus, runs an assembly line in China and recently announced a second plant. Boeing shares, which have outperformed the broader market with a 3 percent gain this year, rose in early trading. Xi is set to tour a Boeing plant Wednesday.