China's motor-drives market grew about 18.6% in 2004, hitting $860 million, according to market research firm IMS Research, Austin. Standard and premium ac drives saw the most revenue growth, especially in larger power ranges. Many of these drives went into constructionrelated sectors building China's manufacturing and transportation infrastructure.

China's economy has boomed since it joined the World Trade Organization in November 2001, experiencing annual growth of no less than 8% of Gross Domestic Product. Market conditions have attracted virtually every major multinational motor-drive company.

The country's strong economic performance has boosted consumer income, which is driving the lower power-drive segment, says IMS. More Chinese consumers can afford packaged goods, fueling use of motor drives in the food and beverage industries, as well as packaging machinery applications.