Manufacturing News

BAIC to invest 5.5 billion yuan in South African assembly plant

Beijing Automotive International Corp. will invest $819 million (5.5 billion yuan) to build a South African assembly plant, giving a further boost to one of that country's fastest growing industries.

On Friday, BAIC said it had signed a deal with Coega Development Corp., operator of an industrial development zone in Port Elizabeth.

The investment is a result of agreements signed in December by President Jacob Zuma and Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping.

"The size of this investment demonstrates confidence by China and confidence in South Africa as an investment destination," said Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies. The Eastern Cape province is "an automotive hub and has the potential of deepening the component supply chain, job creation and economic development," he said.

South Africa's auto industry has been a bright spot for an economy that has been expanding at its slowest pace since the 2009 recession.

With the help of government incentives, Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co. and BMW AG have expanded production.

Automakers in South Africa are on track to boost annual production by nearly 50 percent to more than 900,000 vehicles 2020, the local auto producers' group said in May.

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