A generational change is underway in China that will herald the advent of small jet aircraft for business as well as pleasure.

That’s the belief of Michimasa Fujino, President and CEO of Honda Aircraft Company, who has labored 30 years to bring to reality his dream of building the world’s most advanced light jet, the highest-flying, fastest-cruising and most economical, a jet that would offer passengers the most cabin volume, the quietest interior and the smoothest ride.

He is here at ABACE to debut the U.S.-manufactured twin-engine HA-420 HondaJet, a $4.5 million, six-seat entry-level light jet that he expects will prove popular in China. Not this year or next, but eventually, as airspace opens up for general aviation and a new generation of young entrepreneurs embrace rapid transportation as a tool for business growth and efficiency.

Indeed, GE Aviation has done just that with the purchase of two HondaJets as the most efficient way to streamline its supply chain in the U.S., a move described by Fujino as a great endorsement not only of the aircraft but also the concept.

“We see great market potential in China,” says Fujino, for business and personal transportation and also for flight training. HondaJet is exhibiting here in response to interest from potential Chinese customers and potential dealers for the region.

The first HondaJet was delivered to a customer in the U.S. last December, and there are now 37 in service.

“Next year we can ramp up more,” says Fujino. “The entry into service went as well as we expected, and we have a very responsive support network in North America and Europe.”

The aircraft will embark on an Asian tour after ABACE. Next stops: Hong Kong and Taipei.

With a maximum cruise speed of 422 kts the HondaJet is the fastest jet in its class; it flies highest in its class with a maximum altitude of 43,000 ft; and it is the most fuel-efficient light jet in its class by up to 17%. It has an NBAA IFR range of 1,223 nautical miles.

Business & Commercial Aviation senior editor Fred George flew the aircraft last year. He notes that Honda is a company with long patience and deep pockets, and is likely to be in the aircraft business in a big way. The HondaJet has given it the technologies and experience to develop a wide range of future aircraft capable of winning sizable shares in several segments of the business aircraft market. And it has the patience to succeed in China.