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Chinese firm to build luxury helicopters

(Xinhua) Updated: 2011-11-12 14:47

WENZHOU - A Chinese motor home manufacturer has acquired licenses from regulatory authorities to build luxury helicopters using technologies from Eurocopter, sources told Xinhua on Friday.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) had approved Zhong-Ou International Group, which is a based in east China%27s Zhejiang Province, for assembling helicopters, company chairman Wu Guolin said.

A sample helicopter is expected to run off the assembly line by the end of this year, according to Wu.

Wu said that luxury helicopters would be powered by advanced turbo-charged engines instead of piston engines that are normally seen on private helicopters made by other Chinese companies.

He noted that the new helicopters would be delivered in June next year, with a price tag between 30 million yuan ($4.55 million) to 60 million yuan.

The company already invested about 500 million yuan for the first phase of production, which will be carried out on its 33.3-hectare Changshu base in Jiangsu province.

The company had also set up a second production base in Shanghai over an area of 13.3 hectares, according to Wu.

Wu said his company would first resort to manufacturing the helicopters through CKD, and that they aim to produce all parts and components in China later on.

Originally an automotive and motorcycle parts manufacturer, Zhong-Ou International Group began manufacturing high-end motor homes in 2002. The company also signed contracts with German automaker Mercedes-Benz to jointly produce Benz-branded motor homes.

Eurocopter, a subsidiary owned fully by European Aeronautic, Defense and Space Company (EADS), is the world%27s largest helicopter manufacturer in terms of revenue.