July 27, 2011. Beijing. In an attempt to capture a larger share of the booming Chinese market, General Electric announced that it was moving its X-Ray technology headquarters from Wisconsin to China. While GE is one of the largest military suppliers in the world, it is also the parent of the NBC broadcasting group of companies. Ironically enough, GE’s CEO is Jeff Immelt, the same man President Obama anointed as America’s Jobs Czar.
Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal both confirmed the announcement. Currently, the X-Ray division of GE is headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin and employs 120 people there. The X-Ray division has been located in the US its entire 115 year history. With China representing an ever-growing segment of GE’s customer base however, company executives felt they could improve sales to the giant nation if their headquarters was located there.
“As the company grows more global, it’s increasingly important for us to become close to our customers” Anne LeGrand, vice president and general manager of GE’s Healthcare and X-Ray division, told the Wall Street Journal. She added that she expects 20 percent to 25 percent of GE Healthcare’s X-Ray products to be developed in China during the next three to five years for sale around the world.
The WSJ also quotes General Electric’ CEO Jeff Immelt back in 2008 calling China GE’s “second home”. According to Bloomberg, GE will immediately hire 65 new engineers plus support staff at its new Chengdu facility. “Over the next five years, China will be GE Healthcare’s most important growth market,” Rachel Duan, the China unit’s president and chief executive officer, said in Beijing.
With GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt also serving as President Obama’s ‘Jobs Czar’, American workers are outraged by the action. They cite the US’s 9.2 percent unemployment rate and wonder how the nation’s Jobs Czar could choose corporate profits over his accepted responsibility to help the country’s floundering economy. An article in Economix earlier this year asked the question, “Is a Multinational CEO the Best Jobs Czar?”
It appears we have our answer. Here’s what Economix warned America back in January 2011 regarding the choice of GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt as America’s Jobs Czar:
As Mr. Sullivan of Tax Analysts writes, “Citizens have a right to be concerned the President’s new adviser will give priority to promoting the competitiveness of U.S. multinationals rather than the competitiveness of the overall U.S. economy. And why shouldn’t he? He has a fiduciary responsibility to his shareholders to do exactly that.”