General Electric (GE) considers Turkey among the priority countries for growth. The world giant, which has undertaken the first smart factory transformation in Gebze, wants to take part in the digitalization journey of Turkish companies.
Alex Dimitrief, CEO and president of GE's Global Growth Organization, came to Turkey with top executives of the company for a variety of contacts. Touching upon the latest decision of U.S.-based credit rating agency Moody's to downgrade Turkey's sovereign rating, which led to an assumption that economic indicators suggest that the decision was based on "political" motives, Dimitrief said Turkey was one of the priority countries for GE's investments regardless of Moody's rating, a report in the Dünya daily said yesterday.
In a reference to Turkey's position in the company's global growth strategy, Dimitrief said they have been operating in Turkey for a long time, stressing that it has been really important for them to exist in this market for over 70 years. Noting that they have been strong in each of their sectors, namely energy, healthcare, aviation, renewable energy and digital, Dimitrief said they regard Turkey as one of their homes in the world. "This market, in which the developing middle class fuels the economy, its young population promises great potential and the public strives to create a quality environment in areas such as health, transportation and energy, is very important to us. You are a critical part of our future," Dimitrief said.
Pointing out that he is not aware of Moody's activities in the country, Dimitrief said they will continue to invest in Turkey which is a part of their long-term strategy, indicating that they are now very interested in investments in healthcare. "Public-private partnerships are very impressive in this sense. Turkey aims at increasing the quality of the health care system not only the accessibility," he said. "In this respect, we see important opportunities for GE. We have been here for 70 years. No matter what kind of developments occur in the economy, our existence here is very important for us."
Dimitrief said their wind turbine blades plant in İzmir has started operating, underlining that they aim to export to many countries in addition to meeting Turkey's needs in this regard. "This is a model we can apply in different areas," he noted, recalling that this plant, built with a $50 million investment in Bergama, realized its first exports to Australia just recently.
"The Power Transformers factory in Gebze will be the export champion in its field, we see. We will continue to provide high quality employment with our more than 2,000 employees not only in these factories," Dimitrief added.
Dimitrief said that they attach great importance to digitalization through models to improve the efficiency of Turkish companies, IoT systems and artificial intelligence (AI), stressing that Turkey is one of the markets they are very much interested in in that sense. "GE is going through a digital transformation. Here we first set ourselves as an example. We turned our production center in Gebze into a smart factory," he said. "We are working on achieving a more efficient and less costly production system with AI and less human error, while moving toward a smarter production method when it comes to analyzing data and using it in our work."
Suggesting that Gebze is a very important test center in this regard, Dimitrief said they would spread this model all over the world as GE. "Airlines, energy companies, and hospitals want to see how they can use the machine we sell them in such an efficient system and enter the digitization process. In the next 10 years, it is estimated that digitalization will add $10 trillion to the world economy. And we, as GE, aim to be an important part of it," he concluded.