The Chinese market - still in its infancy - has stalled in recent years, mainly due to the slow pace of reform movement in the airspace of low level, and difficulties with adequate infrastructure.
The country's airspace, tightly controlled by the Air Force, is showing signs of opening. However, towards the end of 2013 the new leadership of China presented a guide on cost savings almost instantly had a negative impact on business aviation in the country.
The resulting reaction anti-luxury charter out the hard domestic market. Chinese officials, always used to charter aircraft for business across the country were flying by scheduled airlines. And those airlines soon found that the need for domestic first class cabins reduced, the officials and business leaders distanced themselves from seemingly unnecessary luxuries.
The number of aircraft actively marketed for sale also jumped well. Data provided by AMSTAT showed a total of 38 aircraft for sale in the Greater China region at a median of 2.014, which is slightly more than 10 percent. That is the first time the number of aircraft actively for sale in the region has been above 10 percent since 2009.
So with China in trouble, the airlines business in the country looked to adapt to the changing environment. Several operators were merged, creating large strong companies with better economies of scale, some business aviation seemed out of new roads, and some realized that to survive, would have to look outside their country of origin.
The group of companies Minsheng did exactly that. With Minsheng International Jet (MSIJet) complete the purchase late last year the company charter and management company headquartered in Hong Kong Business Aviation Asia, the company immediately had a footprint outside its core domestic Chinese market. The Minsheng Financial Leasing sister company has also begun to look outside China for new business opportunities.
But with the departure of Johnny Lau for personal reasons at the end of 2014, the company sought internally for a replacement, and ultimately chose Fuhou Wang.
Wang was one of the founders of the aircraft leasing division in 2009, before rising business and commercial aviation business in northern China. Wang was a product of the prestigious University of Civil Aviation of China, from which he graduated in 1997.
When I meet with Wang in a London hotel, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, for had recently delivered his speech at the World Economic Forum. China's economic growth for the year was projected to stop, though still above six percent.
We talked first about the Chinese economy, the macro-economic conditions in the country, and if the country's growth projections will beat Li conditions.
But soon reach Minsheng, and the current state of the market for Chinese business aviation. Wang tells me that 2014 was good for Minsheng, reflecting the views earlier in the year the CEO of MSFL aircraft financing Zhu Limi.
Limi spoke on a panel at the conference 2014 Asian Corporate Jet Investor, held that year in Hong Kong. Earlier in the day we were told by charter companies a huge proportion of Chinese operators had not made money in 2013, and things were looking bleak for 2014.
Taking this into account, the panel moderator asked participants how the year had been for them. Limi's response was that Minsheng had not seen a slowdown, and if there was, the company was not affected by it.
Back in London, Wang tells me that the company's customers come from the main national industries. This tells me gives the company a unique insight into the macro-economic conditions in the country. While MSFL do see places like the real estate market, tells me that there are plenty of bright spots, and thinks that economic growth will match or even exceed the estimated Li.
But when we started talking about growing Minsheng Wang actually opens. There are two questions that I came to the meeting armed, and both are answered quickly.
First wanted to know about international Minsheng plans. With China Minsheng slowdown would have to look abroad for growth, and Wang confirms this, saying the company should partner with international companies to adapt to the changing domestic scene. He also says that MSFL in the past has placed aircraft in other records, giving the US and Bermuda as examples,
The second question I ask myself in a more-a roundabout, before finally reaching the point. Having heard several rumors that the airport project business in Sanhe, Hebei Province, has been canceled, I wanted to see if this was true. Wang quickly canceled the rumors, telling me that the planning process is still ongoing, and Minsheng remain committed to the project.
After all the recent changes in Minsheng both aviation and the parent bank, it is clear to see that Minsheng has adapted its vision of business aviation in China.
And while I looking abroad for international customers may have been forced to the company by the uncertainty of the domestic market, the fact remains that in several years, Minsheng be able to sell an airplane, you lease a plane, take care of your aircraft as well as being able to land on its own airport.
TheChinaInvestors is the world's #1 funding and investments network for Chinese Investors and Global Investees.