On the first stop of his second trip to China as Georgia governor, Nathan Deal announced a new Chinese factory that is to create 50 jobs near Savannah starting in 2014.
Hubei Xingfa Chemicals Group is to invest an undisclosed sum to build a phosphate factory on an 83-acre site in Effingham County, using the Port of Savannah to export its products to North American customers.
According to the governor’s office, Xingfa is no fly-by-night operation. It’s a diversified chemical company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange with 30 subsidiaries and partnerships with such giants as Unilever, Dow Chemical and Procter and Gamble. Phosphate additives are used in toothpastes, detergents and soaps, among other products.
Mr. Deal’s office made the announcement after he met with Xingfa Group CEO Li Guozhang in Shanghai, where Mr. Deal is participating in a tourism show to welcome more Chinese visitors to Georgia.
The announcement revitalizes the state’s Chinese investment recruitment efforts, which had experienced a lull after a burst of manufacturing announcements more than five years ago.
Celebrated Chinese companies either failed to open their factories or to live up to their employment goals as they faced a tough U.S. economy, lawsuits and other woes. Mr. Deal’s last investment announcement in 2011, a $25 million research and development center at Sany America‘s existing Peachtree City factory, never materialized after the company changed its global business strategy.
Chinese companies employ about 400 people in Georgia, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
Xingfa, the newly announced investor, comes from Hubei, an interior province which had been represented in Atlanta by Chinamex, a trading company that entered the U.S. with grand plans but later closed its doors. Chinamex had a ground-floor office Atlantic Station showcasing Hubei-made products, from personal watercraft to industrial saws.
Mr. Deal is headed from Shanghai to the city of Jinan, the capital of Shandong province, and Qingdao, where the state will open a new China office.
He is expected to announce at least one more investment while highlighting the state’s entry into Qingdao, a coastal city home to the Tsingtao beer company and one of Georgia’s biggest Chinese coups: electronics and appliance maker Hisense Group, which has North American headquarters in Gwinnett County.
The office announcement is set to take place at the Hisense headquarters. Global Atlanta is set to cover the event.