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Industrial Internet

Q&A with Jeff Immelt: Exciting Opportunities in ASEAN (Part 1)

January 06, 2016
Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of General Electric, recently visited ASEAN and spoke to a few journalists here in Indonesia about the important issues the region is facing. Here are some key takeaways from the Q&A session that highlights GE’s presence in ASEAN as well as the challenges and opportunities of a volatile market.
1.       Why was the ASEAN trip (ID & VN) important to you, and GE?



ASEAN is entering an increasingly exciting period of development. We’re not only talking about the huge rise of individual countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, but the emergence of the region as a united ASEAN force with its own goals, its own unique opportunities.

With over a century of experience in ASEAN, GE is investing in those opportunities already. We’ve invested USD $1.5 billion in Indonesia alone to date, and Malaysia is the source of one of only three strategically vital global iCentre’s, key to monitoring and diagnostics in GE’s huge fleet of installed turbomachinery.

Ultimately the key to ASEAN development will be the infrastructure. That’s the true basis for everything else. GE is the biggest digital industrial company in the world. We’re innovators and imaginers. ASEAN is an exciting part of the world for that imagination right now, and GE wants to be at the heart of that.


2.       With current economic conditions, what are the challenges you foresee for GE around the region?


Volatility. It’s that simple. This isn’t just a regional problem. We’re living in a period of slower growth, a period of increased volatility. China has slowed, oil prices have fallen, depending on where you are that can be a good or bad thing. What you can be sure of is more volatility. But that’s an opportunity too, you just need to adapt.

In my time as CEO, we’ve been a company that’s experienced substantial transition. We’ve made hundreds of billions of dollars of acquisitions and disposed hundreds of billions of dollars of assets.  Only recently we completed the biggest industrial investment in GE’s history with Alstom. That changes our global presence, and locally expands our partnerships in Indonesia.

We’re a company that changes and adapts, now more than ever as we blend our world-leading understanding of physics and industry with cutting-edge digital. We have a USD $5 billion a year software business which is growing at 20% a year. These kind of things help us be more productive, help us adapt to volatility and allow us to analyse problems before we fail.

At the end of it all markets dictate their path. It’s up to companies like GE to adjust to keep up. Luckily we’re pretty good at it.


3.       Which areas do you feel offer an important opportunity for GE to work with the countries of ASEAN?



If we talk about infrastructure and development then energy is key. As world leaders in efficient, flexible power solutions that’s certainly where I see one of the greatest opportunities to deliver positive impact in the region.

Both Vietnam and Indonesia already have significant development programmes in recognition of this need. Vietnam has predicted growth of 6.3% in 2016, in a country where electricity demand is already growing at double the country’s GDP rate. Indonesia has equally ambitious plans, with an increased capacity target of 35GW by 2019. These aren’t just idle numbers, they’re a necessity to deliver economic growth.

GE’s recent investment in Alstom really adds new experience and new depth to what we can offer. That’s especially true in Indonesia where we inherit some well-established ties, established partnerships in factories with a state utility company which we can grow and develop.

This is a time where the global spotlight is focused on efficiency and energy as a result of the Paris Climate Summit. By offering our efficient gas turbines along with increased investments in the renewable energy sector, GE has a real opportunity to provide clean and efficient energy to help members of ASEAN attain their development goals.

These kind of developments, the building up of important energy infrastructure, deliver opportunities in offering the right environment to develop technology, and benefit from advances in areas like digital industry and industrial internet solutions. GE estimates as much as 45% of the global economy will benefit from the industrial internet. The members of ASEAN need the infrastructure in place to be included in those beneficiaries.


4.       What is GE’s opinion on the TPPA and how it might impact ASEAN countries?


TPPA has the makings of the biggest free trade deal in human history. That’s not something countries are taking lightly. We were very glad to see that after careful deliberation, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam reached agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) back in October.

As the world’s leading digital industrial company we’re particularly pleased to see a deal which substantially addresses both goods and digital free trade. Accurate data sharing and analysis is the future of manufacturing and industry. In delivering agreement for markets to share this data we offer member countries a huge opportunity to take advantage of this digital future. Smarter data means better manufacturing, increased productivity, better solutions and more competitive industry.

Like any open market there will be those who win more than others. Vietnam in particular is predicted to benefit hugely, with massive economic benefits to 0% tariff goods exports to the likes of the US.

Ultimately though TPPA expands access to a market that encompasses as much of 40% of global GDP, that’s a huge potential to spur economic growth for every member nation.


Q&A With Jeff Immelt: Indonesia, Infrastructure and the Industrial Internet (Part 2)