Otis scores 'Goldin' win

Updated: 2013-05-17 11:40

By Zhang Yuwei in New York (China Daily)

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Otis scores 'Goldin' win

Otis President Pedro Baranda says in an interview in New York on Thursday that his company will supply 225 units of elevators to one of the tallest buildings in China. Alan he / for China Daily

Otis scores 'Goldin' win

Connecticut-based Otis Elevator Co has won a contract for Goldin Finance 117, a high-rise building in the northern Chinese metropolis of Tianjin, the company's president said.

Otis, the world's leading manufacturer of elevators, will supply 255 units upon of the skyscraper, expected in 2016. With 117 floors and an estimated height of 600 meters, the building located in downtown Tianjin's High-Tech Park, will be the tallest in northern China.

"It's a challenge and we would be up for the challenge," Otis President Pedro Baranda told China Daily. "This means just another major step in our progress in China."

The 50 double-deck elevators to be installed in the Tianjin skyscraper represent an innovation by the United Technologies Corp unit. The design can improve a building's overall elevator-passenger capacity by 40 percent, with two floors simultaneously accessible using the same shaft.

Otis, which this year is celebrating its 160th anniversary, has been a major supplier to most of the world's tallest buildings during the past century, including Dubai's Burj Khalifa (the current record-holder); Petronas Towers in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur; and the Shanghai World Financial Center.

The company has big plans for further growth in China, which is now its largest single market and contributes about a fifth of company revenue, Baranda said.

"It is growing faster than the average market in the world," said the Spanish-born executive, who began with Otis as a research engineer in 1993.

Since he became Otis' president in February 2012, Baranda has visited China seven times, aiming to better understand the market and oversee the company's 13,000 employees - out of a global work force of 60,000 - in Shanghai, Chongqing, Guangzhou and Hangzhou.

Baranda said China has given Otis an unprecedented experience.

"We have never seen economic development at such a scale and such a pace anywhere in history; every time I go China, I am fascinated," he said, crediting the company's growth in China to ongoing urbanization of the world's second-biggest economy.

"China is the largest market for elevator consumption in the world - about 60 percent of the elevators sold in the world are sold in China. And there is an even higher proportion of elevators made in the world [being] made in China; it becomes an export hub."

China now has more than 350 buildings of at least 200 meters in height; seven of these are among the world's tallest skyscrapers.

Beyond providing a production base, China is "a great source of talent", Baranda said.

"Today, China hosts the highest number of Otis employees in the world - more than 13,000. It is a fundamental source of talent for us.

"Talent flow in the best indicator of future cash flows; good recruiting and good training in China are going be fundamental for our success in China," he said, adding that Otis has set up a scholarship program to enable employees to further their education.

While China's rapid urbanization generates business for Otis, the company must "continue to grow the service to keep those elevators running in a safe and reliable way", the veteran engineer said. "Investment in service is one of the key areas for Otis for the next 10 years."

Otis, which installed its first elevator in China in 1907, has been trying to stand out in China by going beyond production to emphasize innovation in setting up a "high-rise center of excellence" in Shanghai. About 100 engineers from around the world are working at the facility.

In September the company, operating as Xizi Otis, opened a plant in Chongqing to produce the Gen2 line elevator, whose gearless design and lack of a machine room uses less energy than standard lifts. The plant, with a capacity of 15,000 units annually, can help the company save on transportation costs, enabling it to better serve customers in western China - a key area that accounts for 40 percent of Otis' sales in China.

"Being close to the customer, with the best people and innovative products, is the recipe for success," Baranda said.


(China Daily 05/17/2013 page10)