Gulfstream Aerospace Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, celebrated the grand opening of its new Beijing office in the China World Tower today. The office, located in the middle of Beijing's Central Business District, will give customers centralized access to Gulfstream resources in the rapidly growing Chinese market.
"As the business aviation market continues to expand in Asia Pacific, it becomes increasingly important that Gulfstream and General Dynamics have a permanent presence in Beijing," said Larry Flynn, president, Gulfstream. "The Beijing office allows us to respond to customer needs more effectively and strengthen relationships with key stakeholders in the region."
Herman Chai, regional sales vice president, Far East Asia, Gulfstream, heads the China sales office. Leda M.L. Chong, senior vice president, Asia-Pacific region, General Dynamics, is also headquartered there. Chai oversees sales in mainland China, Japan and South Korea. Chong's responsibilities include coordinating and facilitating activities among representatives of the General Dynamics Aerospace group, which includes Gulfstream Aerospace and Jet Aviation, identifying opportunities for partnering with Chinese companies and coordinating with Chinese aviation authorities to expand company offerings in the Asia-Pacific region.
"China has emerged as one of our most important global markets. Our customer base there is growing rapidly," said Chai. "We've learned how important it is to stay close to customers, to be a regular and easily reachable presence for them. This office responds to those needs."
Gulfstream aircraft represent nearly one in four business jets in the region. The company is leading the large-cabin market in Asia Pacific where, over the past five years, Gulfstream has seen a sales increase of nearly 200 percent.
Chai joined Gulfstream in 1988 in the company's Long Beach, Calif., aircraft completions facility. In 2003, he transferred to Gulfstream's headquarters in Savannah, and in 2005, he was promoted to director, Completion Design, overseeing all Gulfstream aircraft interior design across the five Gulfstream aircraft completions facilities. Chai, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from Northrop University in Los Angeles, holds a commercial pilot's license for both fixed and rotary wing aircraft as well as multi-engine and instrument ratings. In addition to English, he is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and Hakka.
Chong is a native of Hong Kong and fluent in Chinese. She attended secondary school and completed bachelor's and master's degrees in the United States. She served for 20 years in the U.S. Navy, achieving the rank of commander before retiring in January 2007. Her last two duty assignments were in Washington, D.C., in the Navy's congressional and budget liaison offices. She joined General Dynamics in February 2007 as a director of government relations.