In an effort to replace Boeing Co. as the main supplier of aircraft to China, French government and business officials invited Hu Jintao, China’s president, during a tour of Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse.

France Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin hosted Mr. Hu when he visited Toulouse Jan. 29. Gilles de Robien, France minister of transportation, and Noel Forgeard, Airbus’ president and chief executive officer, also met with Mr. Hu as did Philippe Douste-Blazy, mayor of Toulouse.

Mr. Forgeard extended a “personal commitment” to increase industrial cooperation with China

“We are privileged to welcome President Hu Jintao to Airbus and feel very honored to show our modern products and the Airbus people who have made Airbus the No. 1 aircraft manufacturer in 2003,” he said. “We consider China an extremely important market. President Hu appreciation for the aviation has been a source of pride and confidence for us all.”

The officials showed Mr. Hu an Airbus 340-600 scheduled for delivery to China Eastern Airlines Co. in June of this year.

Airbus has 30 percent of the airplane market in China with 217 planes in service there. Airbus plans to sell more than 800 of its planes during the next 20 years, according to Mr. Forgeard.

Mr. Hu is the fourth Chinese leader to visit during the past decade. President Jiang Zemin visited Airbus in 1994; Premier Li Peng in 1996 and Premier Zhu Rongji in 2002.