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China helicopter industry insider urges government support

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BEIJING, March 4 (Xinhua) -- China's civil helicopter makers face a situation where they must "beat foreign competitors or perish", according to an industry insider, who called for more government support for the sector.

Yu Feng, general manager of the helicopter division of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), said on Wednesday that the Chinese firms lag behind foreign rivals in the reliability of their technology and the user experience, despite China's progress in the field in recent years.

As a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), Yu will promote the cause of the domestic helicopter industry when the national legislative body opens its annual session on Thursday. He believes China should nurture the industry like it does for high-speed trains.

"I hope the government will provide more financial support for helicopter research and production, and purchase more from home-grown makers," Yu said.

Civil helicopters are mostly used for public security, forest fire prevention and medical aid in China, which has a tiny fleet of around 400 of the aircraft. Fewer than 20 of them were made in China.

The AVIC is a leading Chinese aircraft company for both civil and military uses. It put technological breakthroughs in helicopter production high on its 2015 agenda.


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