GENERAL Electric plans to invest US$300 million (RM930 million) in Indonesia in the next five years for a human resources development centre, infrastructure facilities and the establishment of a rural healthcare programme, betting on Southeast Asia as economic growth slows at home.
GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt said last Tuesday that for the past two years the company has seen strong growth in its business in Indonesia, one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
"We see a great opportunity to support the country in energy and health infrastructure technology development and its human resources for sustainable economic growth," Immelt said in a statement.
Part of GE's latest investment plan includes construction of a learning and technology centre. For this project, GE will cooperate with Garuda Indonesia, state utility company Perusahaan Listrik Negara and energy company Pertamina. The cooperation agreement was signed on Tuesday.
The US company's unit, GE Learning and Technology Centre, will help produce skilled employees in engineering and technology. This, in turn, will encourage local development of GE's applied technology.
GE's first presence in Indonesia dates back to 1940, and since then it has provided services on technology solutions in aviation, power generation, transportation, energy, management, oil and gas, lighting and healthcare.
The US company, with diversified businesses ranging from finance and transportation to energy and healthcare, has invested up to US$1 billion in Indonesia.
"GE's commitment to grow with Indonesia goes back more than 60 years ago," Immelt said.
Handry Satriago, chief executive of GE Indonesia, the local unit, said part of its investment will focus on building a learning technology and engineering centre. That means GE will train its employees, customers and university graduates to operate GE equipment such as turbine engines and electronic circuits in the hopes that business will continue to grow in Indonesia.
"GE is well known as a company that is able to produce skilled human resources in technology," said Emirsyah Satar, the president director of Garuda Indonesia, the nation's flag carrier.
GE is set to sign a five-year cooperation contract with Garuda Maintenance Facility AeroAsia, a subsidiary of Garuda that provides services and maintenance for planes, engine planes and spare parts, Handry said.
Elsewhere in the transportation sector, GE plans to help in the modernisation of locomotives through a cooperation with state train operator Kereta API Indonesia.
In electricity, GE seeks to form an alliance with PLN to develop biomass-based power plants. The pilot project will be located in Sumba island in East Nusa Tenggara, and have capacity to generate 750 kilowatts to one megawatt, Handry said.
Planned projects in GE's rural healthcare programme include the procurement of small-sized ultrasonography devices for patients in rural areas, Handry said, without providing details.
GE Indonesia, whose head office is located in Jakarta, now employs 800 people in 10 facilities and project locations in the country.
Among the facilities it owns are two factories in Yogyakarta and Batam and a service centre in Bandung. Revenue has increased by more than 10 per cent in the past few years.