Hisense, Chinese white goods manufacturer, has opened a new 100,000 square-metre industrial park near Cape Town, tightening its grip over the region’s electronics market.
The park, located in Atlantis, Western Cape, is said to be the most important electronics and home appliance base in South Africa and is expected to produce about of 400,000 TVs and the same amount of refrigerators annually.
Hisense will also establish an electronics technology research and development training facility within the park led by engineers from China and aimed at developing skills of local professional technicians.
Focused on producing energy-saving refrigerators, Smart 3D HDTVs and other eco-friendly products, the base will serve more than 30 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, including Angola, Ghana and Congo. It is believed to provide 600 direct jobs and approximately 2,000 indirect opportunities in support and logistics.
Hisense entered the South African market in 1994 by creating the Hisense South Africa subsidiary. Since then, it has become the largest LED TV manufacturer in the country with a market share over 25 per cent.
The newly launched park is a joined project between Hisense and the China-Africa Development Fund and aims at increasing the influence of Hisense in the region as well as improving the region's competitiveness.
Though operations began with 300 workers, it will increase to 600 in September or October, and to 1,200 when washing machine and air-conditioning manufacturing will be introduced.
The Chinese manufacturer, which entered the mobile devices market earlier this year, already sells its smart phones and tablets in South African stores. The company will also begin manufacturing mobile electronic devices at the Atlantis plant later this year.
The Atlantis industrial park was originally created in the 1970s but later experienced a severe decline, with many companies moving closer to Cape Town, especially during the 2008-09 global economic crises.
Hisense invested R350m (£22.5m) into the project which, according to the company’s statement, represent only the first phase of the development. In the second phase, a facility manufacturing washing machines and air-conditioning systems will be commissioned.