Turnover from the market has been growing at 20pc to 40pc in past years Swiss-Swedish power equipment and automation technology giant ABB expects annual sales growth in China to exceed 20 per cent in the next few years, driven largely by opportunities arising from the country's need to send power from the energy-rich western region to power-hungry coastal areas. ABB's head of China group communications, Paul Chan Tat-ping, said the company's mainland turnover had been growing at 20 to 40 per cent in the past three to four years. 'There is no reason to expect less [in the next few years],' he said. The China operation recorded a turnover of about US$1.5 billion last year - or 8.2 per cent of global sales of $18.3 billion. ABB makes and sells switches, transformers, sub-stations used in power plants and transmission grids, as well as automation systems used in the pulp and paper, mineral and metal, oil and gas, chemical and semiconductor industries. About two-thirds of its China sales were of locally produced products and the rest sourced mainly from Europe and the United States. Inter-connection of regional power grids is a major source of growth. Daniel Assandri, general manager of the China power systems operation, said the company was executing a project to connect the Three Gorges hydro project to Changzhou in Jiangsu province, and another from the Three Gorges to Huizhou in Guangdong. Each project involved transmission capacity of 3,000 megawatts (MW) and cost about US$350 million. Two more projects of the same size are expected to be up for bidding by the end of the year. They will link up the Three Gorges project to the Shanghai market, and the power-rich areas of Guizhou and Shenzhen. 'Until 2015, there will be around 20 projects of similar sizes,' Mr Assandri said. To cope with the growth, ABB has invested in more than 20 subsidiaries and joint venture plants. Mr Chan said negotiations were ongoing on new investments and expansion of existing factories, but he would not divulge the details. Mr Assandri said the transmission equipment industry was 'still a foreign companies' game'.