A state-owned manufacturer on Monday unveiled the first plane produced by a Chinese initiative to compete in the market for large passenger jetliners.
China is one of the biggest aviation markets but relies on Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The multibillion-dollar effort to create the homegrown C919 jetliner is aimed at clawing back some of the commercial benefits that flow to foreign suppliers.
The Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China showed off the first of the twin-engine planes in a ceremony attended by some 4,000 government officials and other guests at a hangar near Shanghai's Pudong International Airport.
"It's a major push for the country, as they want to be known as a major player" in airplane manufacturing, said Mavis Toh, Asia air transport editor for Flightglobal magazine.
The C919 is one of several initiatives launched by the ruling Communist Party to transform China from the world's low-cost factory into a creator of profitable technology in aviation, clean energy and other fields.
The C919, which can seat up to 168 passengers, is meant to compete in the market for single-aisle jets dominated by Airbus Industrie's A320 and Boeing Co.'s 737.