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A colorful display of red, yellow, and blue across China skies. This is the Zhuhai Airshow, one of the biggest displays of China's aviation ambitions, but this year, attendance numbers have fallen. Media reports say organizers have scaled back the show, some think it's down to the trade war between Beijing and Washington.
Instead, as Reuters' Brenda Goh reports, China used the event to showcase closer ties with Moscow.>> China has this goal to, by 2025, create its own state champions in industries like aviation, semiconductors, and chips. Is showing that it's on its way to achieving such a goal at this air show.
We've seen three ARJs do flight demonstrations, Comac the Chinese fleet and planemaker has unveiled a full size mockup of the white body jet that it's building with Russia That eventually wants to compete with Boeing and Airbus.>> Insiders say it's a deliberate message to the West from China that its aviation industry is surging ahead, though competitors claim they aren't worried.
>> I don't see it as a threat to
Airbus, I see it as a completely logical development. So when you consider that China absorbs between 20 and 25% of the deliveries of commercial aircraft every year.>> China's state-owned planemaker, Comac was there to show off the strides Beijing is making in aviation, though it seemed mostly directed at a Chinese audience.
>> A couple of analysts say that this show is also very domestically focused, we haven't seen any overseas companies place orders for Chinese aircraft or Chinese systems.>> Comac's banner project, the narrow-body C919 was also nowhere to be seen after being in flight tests for over a year.
One industry insider called it a deliberate PR strategy to keep the focus on the political message, China and Russia's joint resilience to US pressure. But others say there might be a simpler explanation, with the trade war, the program itself is under strain.