Thousands of jobs and technological innovation to be the result

Chinese appliance-maker Hisense has loudly and clearly signalled its support for South African industry, with a R250-million investment in a Western Cape factory that will manufacture refrigerators and television sets.

This investment, by Hisense International Group, is expected to create 600 direct jobs and an estimated 2 000 indirect opportunities, and produce 400 000 refrigerators and televisions each per annum. It will also introduce European-standard green technology and innovation into appliances being manufactured in this country.

Hisense has purchased an existing, 10-hectare production facility at the Atlantis Industrial Park, outside Cape Town, from Tedelex. The two parties signed the sale agreement on Friday, 27 July 2012, during a special ceremony at the Hisense head office in Midrand.

The factory will now be specially outfitted and prepared for production, which is expected to commence in early 2013. It will be a full production facility, and not used only for assembly, and units will be manufactured for sub-Saharan markets.

The Hisense investment into South African manufacturing capacity forms part of China’s commitment to African development, as expressed
in the recent Africa Forum held in Beijing, where US$20-billion was earmarked for this purpose. A further US$5-billion has been set aside for equity investment.

For Hisense South Africa managing director Jerry Liu, this investment is the first in several development phases being planned by Hisense, a leading global manufacturer. Further manufacturing capacity, particularly for laundry equipment and wine coolers, is currently being investigated.

“We are very excited about developing a manufacturing capability in South Africa, as it will give us a further competitive edge in the South African and African markets. To this end, we’re very grateful to the Department of Trade and Industry and the Western Cape’s development arm, Wesgro, for their ongoing support in making this factory a reality,” says Liu.

“This step also represents a win-win scenario for South Africa. It will stimulate the struggling manufacturing sector, create thousands of direct and indirect jobs, allow for the transfer of much-needed skills, and offer the African market high-quality, technologically-advanced products.”

At the sale agreement ceremony, Tedelex CEO Alan Coward said he was “delighted” with the deal, and praised Hisense for its success in South
Africa in the past five years. “I think this is the start of mutual co-operation,” he predicted for the two companies.

Liu, too, expressed the belief that developing its own local manufacturing capacity augured well for Hisense South Africa’s future. “We’re going into a new era, and this is the beginning of great things,” he said.

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