Boeing has broken ground on a 737 completion and delivery center in Zhoushan, China, which is in the Zhejiang Province, as the US manufacturer seeks to expand its global footprint and strategic partnership with China.

As Boeing’s first overseas factory, the completion and delivery center is scheduled to go into formal operation in 2018 and be ready for aircraft delivery by the end of 2018. The delivery center is expected to deliver 8-10 aircraft every month and about 100 aircraft every year.

Last October, Boeing signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement with Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China (COMAC) and the Zhejiang provincial government in Hangzhou for the center.

According to Boeing, the 737 completion center is a joint venture with COMAC while the delivery center is wholly owned by Boeing. The completion and delivery center covers a total area of 40 hectares (99 acres) and includes a manufacturing hangar, paint hangar, delivery center office building, MRO hangar, fire station and storage facilities.

Industry analysts cited the “huge potential of Chinese market” as the main reason for the center. To date, about one-fifth of globally produced narrowbody aircraft will be delivered to China.

Similarly, Airbus broke ground on an A330 completion and delivery center in China last year, in addition to an A320 final assembly line opened in Tianjin in 2008.