by Farah Manuel

New TV factory for the Cape

R350m plant a cushion for jobs

Dr Lan Lin, GM at Hisense International, Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel and the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille.
Dr Lan Lin (GM Hisense  International), Minister of Economic Development Mr Ebrahim Patel, Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.jpg

The Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, and the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille attended the opening of a R350m plant that will supply sub-Saharan Africa with leading-edge innovative flat-panel televisions and refrigeration units.

The products are being manufactured by a local workforce of more than 300, who are taking part in a skills-transfer programme led by Hisense technicians and engineers from China.

Mr Yansang Rong, China’s Economic and Commercial Counsellor to South Africa, and Mr Quingcheng Lu, Vice President of the China-Africa Development Fund were also present.

Hisense now has 19 manufacturing facilities worldwide, of which the Atlantis plant is the sixth outside Chinese borders.

With more than 300 production positions already filled by previously unskilled and unemployed residents from the Atlantis area, the commitment from Hisense will have a profound effect on the economic and social morale of the Western Cape.

Atlantis is a town of approximately 250 000 residents which has been hit by unemployment and poverty in recent years.

“We look forward to the company expanding employment further and will provide support through co-ordinated government actions on skills, investment facilitation, industrial incentives and infrastructure provision.

"We also applaud the company’s connection with the community and its corporate social investments which are contributing in ensuring that the people of this areas enjoy a great quality of life”, said Minister Patel.

Executive vice president of Hisense Group, Dr Lan Lin , stated the commitment from the company to become a positive role model for other Chinese companies wanting to work closely with South Africans.

Premier Zille also spoke about her appreciation for the investment that Hisense had made in Atlantis, and the people of the Western Cape.

In particular, she expressed how well national and provincial government had worked together to secure the Hisense factory development in the province.

Within the next three to five years, Hisense aims to take its local workforce up to 1 000, and a solid strategy is in place to ensure this growth says Jerry Liu, General Manager of Hisense SA.

Hisense already owns 100 000m2 of land in Atlantis to facilitate expansion of the facility, and to extend manufacture to air-conditioning units and washing machines.

Wesgro, the official destination marketing, investment and trade promotion agency for the Western Cape, also assisted in facilitating Hisense’s entry into the province’s manufacturing sector with regard to regulatory aspects, permits and the purchase of the land.

Nils Flaatten, chief executive officer at Wesgro said, “This deal clears the way for other companies to open manufacturing and production plants in this area, which we hope can become the hub of industrial activity it was in years gone by.”

The opening was also celebrated with a live performance from the Grammy Award-winning Soweto Gospel Choir, as well as the local Atlantis Choir.

A tree-planting ceremony took place where more than 300 trees were planted in the factory grounds.

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