The Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has agreed to build a massive new industrial complex in Jianzhou New Town, Chengdu, showing its growing confidence in the western China hub city. Geely and the city signed a 30 billion yuan ($4.54 billion) agreement on Sept 14.
The deal comes as the city steps up efforts to build an internationally competitive modern industrial base.
The new facility will include engine and transmission plants, racing venues, an auto-themed amusement park, as well as education and training facilities.
To the east of Chengdu, Sichuan province’s capital, Jianzhou New Town is a modern industrial center for manufacturing advanced equipment, such as aircraft, drones and cars.
Construction on the race tracks and amusement park will begin next year. Once completed, they are expected to bring an annual revenue of 36 billion yuan and create about 25,000 jobs.
The Geely production plant is designed to produce 400,000 engines and 600,000 transmission units a year. Products rolling off the factory’s assembly lines will be sold in Southeast Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe, Geely’s executives said.
The education and training facility will be operated by Beijing Geely University, a private university belonging to the Geely Group. It will enroll about 25,000 full-time students a year.
Huo Weidong, president of Beijing Geely University, said he was confident in Chengdu’s development potential.
“Chengdu has a solid foundation in manufacturing, and Jianzhou New Town is a major base for manufacturing and related services in the city. That’s why Geely decided to base the project in the area.”
Also in September, a number of key automobile projects were signed in the Longquanyi district of Chengdu, neighboring Jianzhou New Town.
One project involved a capital injection of 6 billion yuan from the bus producer Zhongzhi Yike Chengdu Automobile to expand its new energy vehicle factory in the district, aiming to increase the output to 10,000 vehicles a year.
Sichuan IAT Motor agreed on a 2.7 billion yuan new energy vehicle project in the same month, aiming to produce 100,000 cars a year.
Longquanyi is the main auto industry zone in Chengdu, hosting big names such as FAW-Volkswagen Automobile, FAW Toyota Motor, Dongfeng Motor, Volvo and Geely. Facilities in the district currently have a combined production capacity of 1.4 million vehicles a year.
Local offcials expect the output of vehicles to top 3 million units a year once the zone is fully established in 2021.
The city’s advanced manufacturing industries are not limited to the automobile sector, however.
Last month China’s leading LED display manufacturer, Beijing Oriental Electronics, announced its production line for sixth-generation flexible displays which is now operational at its Chengdu plant.
With a total investment of 46.5 billion yuan, it is the first production line of its kind in China, Beijing Oriental Electronics said.
Semi conductor producer GlobalFoundries announced the completion of the main structure of its 12-inch wafer plant in Chengdu in October, eight months after construction which began in February. The first phase of the project is due to be completed at the end of next year, and the second phase at the end of 2019. On completion, the plant will have received total investment of $10 billion.
These new projects, and the existing facilities of global IT brands such as Intel, Huawei, Dell, Foxconn and Texas Instruments, are expected to consolidate Chengdu’s position as a major electronic and IT base in China.
The city’s new industrial development plan, issued in July, targets a 1 trillion yuan annual output value for the electronics and IT industries.
Chengdu is increasingly integrating itself with the global economy. A recent initiative was a direct railway cargo service connecting the city and Central Europe, which will bring local manufacturers closer to markets in the continent.
Under Chengdu’s industrial development plan, the city will focus on five competitive industries: telecommunications, food and beverages, automobiles, equipment manufacturing and biomedicine.
In an effort to accelerate the formation of new economic growth drivers, the city will also provide greater support to the aerospace, rail transportation, energy conservation, environmental protection, and new energy sectors.
Under the plan, the city, to ensure its future competitiveness, aims to facilitate the development of the artifi cial intelligence, medical science and virtual reality industries, as well as other high-technology sectors.