GE head slams China over hostility: report

2nd July 2010, Comments 0 comments

The head of General Electric has slammed China, alleging a hostile approach towards foreign companies, the Financial Times reported on Friday, but the group objected that the comments were taken out of context.

"I really worry about China," CEO Jeffrey Immelt told a business audience in Rome, according to the FT.

"I am not sure that in the end they want any of us to win, or any of us to be successful."

Immelt added: "China and India remain important for GE but I am thinking about what is next."

The GE chief referred to the "most interesting resource-rich countries" in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America plus Indonesia.

"They don't all want to be colonised by the Chinese. They want to develop themselves," Immelt added, according to the paper.

The FT also reported that the CEO was critical of US President Barack Obama, expressing concern that excessive US regulation, in the wake of the global financial crisis, would dampen a "tepid" economic recovery.

"We are a pathetic exporter ... we have to become an industrial powerhouse again but you don't do this when government and entrepreneurs are not in synch."

However, GE issued a swift response to the FT story, arguing that some of the quotes were inaccurate.

"The comments attributed to GE CEO Jeff Immelt by the FT were taken out of context and, in some instances, inaccurately reported," the company said in a statement.

"Mr. Immelt's commentsat a private dinner focused on therelationship between business and government in generaland did not single out President Obama.

"Mr. Immelt also discussed the attractiveness and importance of China as a market for GE during a discussion on the complexities of doing business globally."

© 2010 AFP

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