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Georgia Opens Doors to New Business with China

Monday, June 19, 2006  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

Georgia Opens Doors to New Business with China

State to Open Beijing Office; 200-job Chinese Manufacturing Plant Locating in Newnan

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Georgia is expanding its international business outreach by opening its first-ever office in China and welcoming Chinese manufacturing company Kingwasong LLC to Georgia.

“I am very pleased that Georgia’s newest international office will be located in Beijing,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “We look forward to a long and fruitful business relationship between our state and China’s business leaders.”

The new office, Georgia’s 11th international location, will be located in Beijing. It will open in 2007 to introduce the state’s business opportunities and tourism destinations to the world’s fastest-growing economy. Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Craig Lesser will lead a delegation to the city August 18–25 to call on business and government leaders and explore potential locations for the office.

The state’s increasingly strong relationship with the China business community has resulted in a decision by China-based Lehui Enterprises, a manufacturer of food and beverage processing equipment, and W.Y. Industries, a leading U.S. manufacturer of food and beverage packing products, to enter into a joint venture agreement that will create 200 jobs within two years in the Newnan, Ga. area. The new company, named Kingwasong LLC, will manufacture, process and package a variety of condiments in an existing facility in Newnan. The facility is expected to attract $12 million to $15 million in new investment to the area.

“We are very excited to have this initial investment from China,” said Commissioner Craig Lesser. “After visiting China last year and establishing trade relationships, we couldn’t be happier to see our efforts succeed. This is a great example of the opportunities that exist between Georgia and our new Chinese partners.”

Georgia was China’s sixth largest export destination in 2005, with exports to China totaling $979 million, an increase of 482 percent since 1998. In 2004 more than $9.9 billion in goods were imported from China through the Savannah Customs District. Imports from China to Georgia have increased 456 percent since 1998.

Trade to and from China flowing to Georgia through Atlanta, Brunswick and Savannah totaled $12.1 billion in 2005, ranking Georgia as the sixth largest port in the U. S. for imports and exports with China, and the second largest port on the East Coast. According to the Georgia Ports Authority, China and Hong Kong accounted for more than 40 percent of its 2005 trade.

Numerous Georgia companies have operations in China, including UPS, GE Energy and Delta Air Lines, which is lobbying Chinese and U.S. government officials for new direct service from Atlanta to Beijing. Over half a dozen Georgia universities have connections with China, including Georgia Tech’s partnership with Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Organizations such as the Chinese Business Association of Atlanta, the Georgia China Alliance, Atlanta Chinese Professionals and the Organization of Chinese Americans assist approximately 24,000 people in Georgia’s Chinese community. This community is served by the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas. Georgia officials are actively pursuing the establishment of a new consulate in Atlanta.

Lehui Enterprises’ 225,750-square-foot facility will be located at the former Olsonite manufacturing structure at 25 Dart Road in Newnan. The company will manufacture, process and package foodstuffs, including soy sauce, vinegars and cooking sherry. The facility will also be used to manufacture plastic packaging material in later phases of project operations.

“The building at 25 Dart Road in Newnan, the logistics infrastructure of metro Atlanta, the strength of the international airport, and growth of the Southeast marketplace were all factors we took into consideration during our decision-making process,” said Bill Cheng, president of W.Y. Industries. “We know we will be successful in Georgia.”

“We investigated many areas such as New York, New Jersey, Chicago and California, but finally we chose Atlanta as the best location for our joint venture. We were very impressed with Atlanta's investment environment as well as the state’s support of this project,” added Yunlai Lai, president of Lehui Enterprises.

“This project is another example of great teamwork and we appreciate everyone's hard work,” said Bill Harrison, executive director of the Coweta County Development Authority. “The state’s involvement was critical to making this deal happen, but we’re very happy for the successful outcome and look forward to welcoming Lehui Enterprises and W.Y. Industries to our community.”

“This move shows just how strong the metro Atlanta economy is,” said Sam A. Williams, president of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, which took an active role in encouraging the venture. “We are able to attract Chinese manufacturers half a world away because we’ve got everything they need – a home base located in the heart of the nation’s fastest growing region, a low cost of doing business and access to the world through our international airport.”

“The fact is the Chinese investors are coming to the United States. The question is: Which state?” said Dr. Dex Shi, chair of the China Business Committee of World Trade Center Atlanta, who actively helped facilitate the deal. “The success of this project illustrates that when state and local governments and the international business community work together, we compete with other states and bring Chinese investment to Georgia.”

Lehui Enterprises is China’s leading manufacturer of food processing, beverage processing and food packaging equipment and will supply equipment for the joint venture. Founded in 1991, Lehui has developed into a holding corporation of four independent manufacturing enterprises and one joint-venture company, with total sales reaching over $300 million RMB in 2003. W.Y. Industries is a leading U.S. manufacturer of food and beverage packaging products headquartered in New Bergen, New Jersey. Products manufactured by the company include condiments, utensils, plastic containers, takeout containers and food ingredients.

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