Embraer has secured Chinese government approval to assemble Legacy 600/650 business jets in China, extending a relationship that existed on the ERJ145 using the Harbin Embraer Aircraft Industry Co. joint venture with Avic.

The first aircraft is to be delivered next year. Embraer initially considered moving some E-Jet assembly to the site, but China balked because of its own ARJ21 program. Concurrently, ICBC Financial Leasing Co. announced a firm order for five Legacy 650s with an option for five more. The lessor is the launch customer for deliveries from Harbin.

The approval provides another entry into the business aviation market for Avic, which earlier this year also teamed with rival Cessna on joint business jet production.

“Avic will seize the opportunity to develop a platform building executive jets that will meet the demand of the global and China markets, and ultimately assist China’s executive aviation industry progressing into a new stage,” says Tan Ruisong, president of Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

Harbin production initially would be targeted for Chinese buyers, but is expected to supply other markets later.

Embraer, which received orders for 18 of its business jets last year, expects Chinese buyers to take delivery of 630 business jets from all manufacturers over the coming 10 years, adding to about 210 already in the country. Embraer estimated that the market could be $21 billion.