The Telex sent from Chinese officials to Caterpillar Vice President Delmar Lammers in 1975 was three simple words: “SEND PIPELAYER EXPERTS.” Three weeks later, a signed contract for the sale of 38 medium-sized pipelayers launched China’s first oil pipeline and Caterpillar’s 40-year history in China.
“Twenty-five years ago, you could just feel something big was starting to happen in China.
It felt as if the country was on a mission.”
– Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO
What happened next changed the world. In just 40 years, China emerged as the world’s second-largest economy, and Caterpillar is proud to have been there every step of the way. Whether it’s energy, agriculture, transportation, research, architecture, finance or tourism – we helped build the infrastructure and resources that helped make China’s prosperity possible today. In 2015, Caterpillar, along with our Chinese dealers, suppliers and customers, marked our 40th anniversary in the country with a yearlong campaign. The theme, “Building a Beautiful China,” highlighted our many contributions to the country under the sub-themes of partnership, community and life.
Partnership refers to Caterpillar’s support for Chinese customers, dealers, suppliers and other partners. A big part of our commitment is integrating local resources and fostering our relationships with Chinese suppliers to increase the competitiveness of our global supply network. Additionally, our mature dealer model has earned an unparalleled level of trust. Dealers work closely with our customers, many of whom are small entrepreneurs who are building their own businesses and continuing to transform the Chinese economy. And to support them, Cat Financial makes projects possible by working with customers to get them the machines they need – when they need them.
Community refers to our contributions to the communities where we live and work, and specifically to the sustainability aspect of the contributions. Caterpillar has built prosperity in China, improving the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people. In turn, demand for energy, as well as demand on the environment, have increased. Addressing both issues, Caterpillar is instrumental in China’s green energy production. Our machines helped to build the world’s largest hydroelectric power station and the largest water transfer project, plus a west-to-east natural gas pipeline to support growing need.
Supporting needs on a grassroots level, our employees in China are eager to give back to their communities and drive positive change.
Life refers to people, internally and externally, our investment and efforts in training our 13,000 Chinese employees, customers and partners in general. Throughout the year, with our events and promotions, we delivered these messages through stories, videos and speeches. To our Chinese suppliers, in particular, we offer vast opportunities for business training, technical exchanges, joint research and development, and corporate culture development. The introduction of production systems and advanced management philosophies such as 6 Sigma has resulted in a number of our Chinese suppliers’ emerging as leaders in local industries. Some have expanded their businesses beyond China, constructing facilities abroad and supplying Caterpillar globally, using the skills they garnered from our training efforts.
The yearlong anniversary celebration culminated in the final event in Xuzhou, where we showcased our latest technology and shared our long-term vision for Caterpillar and for China, demonstrating our commitment to this market and pledging another 40 years of mutual growth and success.
“In the first 18 months in Xuzhou, all I did was work and sleep. But it paid off. The first 325 excavator built in Xuzhou came off the assembly line in the new plant on July 4, 1997.”
– Ed Gramme, first general manager for Caterpillar Xuzhou Ltd.
China employees participated in the first Global Month of Service in September 2015. Over the past five years, more than 3,000 China employees, plus more than 1,000 of their family members, friends and dealer employees, have volunteered across China.
Beijing: Twenty-three employee volunteers, along with relatives and friends, cared for trees in the Caterpillar Foundation Charity Forest.
Qingzhou: Fourteen volunteers visited rural Tuoshan Primary School with a psychological consultation teacher to deliver donated books and free counseling to help students meet challenges with a positive attitude.
Suzhou: Fifteen volunteers and family members accompanied 15 children from the Wuzhong Welfare House for children with disabilities on a day trip around East Tai Lake. The day ended with a birthday party for one of the students, six-year-old Yanjun Wu.
Shanghai: For many years, employees from the Global Supply Network team have volunteered at the rural Watuo Primary School in one of the poorest areas of China. The Human Services team joined them in making a donation to purchase stationery for the students.
Tianjin: Employees from Asia Power Systems and the Shared Services Center, 70 in all, held a donation event for Concentric Hope Home, which provides community services for migrant women and their families. Employees donated more than 800 articles of clothing and shoes, as well as other items.
Tongzhou: Ten volunteers joined “Tiny Wish,” an assistance program to grant wishes for needy families. They visited a boy who suffers from muscle atrophy and granted his simple wish for a new set of clothes, as well as offering to teach him to read.
Wuxi: More than 50 volunteers from the Caterpillar Research & Development Center donated about 600 children’s books, notebooks, puzzles, stuffed toys and electronics to Zhangzhen Migrant School. They later visited to deliver courses in English, safety awareness and Chinese classic poetry.
Xuzhou: Thirty-one volunteers from Xuzhou Limited, Paving Products and Undercarriage visited students at the Pengcheng Special Education School for mentally disabled children, whom they have supported for more than 10 years. They played basketball, helped with art projects and donated food for the children.