Fact Check

General Electric China Move

General Electric is moving its x-ray division from Wisconsin to China?

Published Aug 18, 2011

Claim:   General Electric is moving its x-ray division and headquarters from Wisconsin to China.


FALSE: General Electric is moving its x-ray division to China.
TRUE: General Electric is moving its x-ray division business headquarters to China.

Examples:   [Collected via e-mail, August 2011]

General Electric is planning to move its 115-year-old X-ray division from Waukesha, Wis., to Beijing. In addition to moving the headquarters, the company will invest $2 billion in China and train more than 65 engineers and create six research centers. This is the same GE that made $5.1 billion in the United States last year, but paid no taxes — the same company that employs more people overseas than it does in the United States.

So let me get this straight. President Obama appointed GE Chairman Jeff Immelt to head his commission on job creation (job czar). Immelt is supposed to help create jobs.

I guess the President forgot to tell him in which country he was supposed to be creating those jobs.

If this doesn't show you the total lack of leadership of this President, I don't know what does.


Origins:   In July 2011, General Electric Co. (GE) announced that it was moving its X-ray business headquarters, consisting of four executives, from Waukesha, Wisconsin, to Beijing, China, a move intended "in part at helping develop more medical equipment specifically for the Chinese market." GE did not announce that it was moving the x-ray division itself to China and said they did not expect the move to result in any job losses among the 120 employees currently employed at the General Electric X-ray unit based in Waukesha, Wisconsin:

General Electric Co. said it is moving its X-ray business headquarters to China to accelerate sales in the country's fast-growing health-care market, the latest sign of China's growing importance to the giant U.S. conglomerate.

The X-ray unit will be the company's first business to be based in China.

The business has already begun the move — which includes the unit's chief executive and three other members of its executive team — and expects to complete the process by year end, said Anne LeGrand, vice president and general manager of GE Healthcare Global X-Ray. The senior leadership team's move to Beijing is aimed in part at helping develop more medical equipment specifically for the Chinese market, Ms. LeGrand told a news briefing Monday.

GE said it doesn't expect the move to result in any job losses in the U.S., where the unit has been based in Waukesha, Wis. The Wisconsin X-ray division has 120 employees. The company also said it is too early to say how many employees it will hire for the unit's new Beijing headquarters.

"As the company grows more global, it's increasingly important for us to become close to our customers," Ms. LeGrand said, adding that she expects 20% to 25% of GE Healthcare's X-ray products to be developed in China during the next three to five years for sale around the world.

As China's market has boomed for a range of products, a small but growing number of companies have moved senior executives to the country or sent them for extended stints. Intel Corp. in May said Sean Maloney, one of its best-known senior executives, would move to China from Silicon Valley to oversee the chip giant's operations here. Bayer AG unit Bayer Healthcare moved its general medicine headquarters from Germany to Beijing in March, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. of the U.S. temporarily moved its headquarters to Shanghai for five weeks starting last month.

GE has long placed high hopes on China, with CEO Jeffrey Immelt in 2008 calling it the company's "second home market." In January, the company finalized a deal with state-owned Aviation Industry Corp. of China to inject much of GE's civilian avionics business into a 50-50 joint venture based in China.

General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt is the chair of the 26-member President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. He was appointed to that position by President Barack Obama in January 2011, six months prior to GE's announcement of their plans to establish an x-ray division headquarters in China.

Last updated:   28 July 2012


    Burkitt, Laurie.   "GE Bases X-Ray Unit in China."

    The Wall Street Journal.   26 July 2011.

    Clark, Jim.   "Jobs Council Outlines Steps to Improve Economy."

    coloradoan.com.   31 July 2011.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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