By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s visit to China on Monday yielded desired result with several Chinese investors agreeing to establish their plant in the state.
Among the investors that gave Sanwo-Olu their commitment was Gree Electrical Appliances, describing the invitation by the governor as an opportunity to expand their investment in the African continent.
The Governor, while on a tour of the company’s expansive facility in Zhuhai, China, told the company’s leadership, including Xie Dong Bo, President Assistant who represented Madam Dong Mingzhu, the company’s President and Chairperson, at the facility inspection, stressed that Lagos would continue to remain open to socially responsible and viable companies.
“As you know, Lagos is the largest city in Africa, with a population of over 22 million people. The State’s economy is the 7th largest on the continent of Africa. The State is central for easy distribution of products and a fertile ground for recruiting a highly skilled workforce that will help further the innovation for which Gree Electric Appliance is globally reputed,” Sanwo-Olu told his hosts.
Allaying the fear of the company’s management about the challenges of doing business in Lagos, Mr. Sanwo-Olu told the potential investors in the State’s economy that “every region of the world has its own peculiar challenge(s). Even here in China, you have your own issues, but your challenges may not be what our challenges are in Lagos”.
“However, the good news is that Lagos State is committed to innovation and excellence in everything we do. We have our eyes on the ball and the Government I lead is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that business processes are simplified enough to support entrepreneurial efforts to grow and succeed. We are the major driver of Nigeria’s 15 places improvement on the World Ease of Doing Business Index, and we will continue to drive the process for the continual ascension of Nigeria on the Index,” he said.
Speaking through its President Assistant, Xie Dong Bo, who has managed the company’s international subsidiaries in Brazil and Pakistan, the company expressed gratitude to the government and people of Lagos State for the invitation to establish an international subsidiary in the State.
He said: “Gree Electric Appliances is grateful for the invitation and the opportunity to expand into Lagos. With this invitation, we see an opportunity to increase our share of the air-conditioning market to the region of 35% and our annual production capacity of residential air-conditioners (RAC) and central air-conditioners (CAC) from more than 60 million and 5.5 million sets respectively.”
Bo added: “In addition to being in Brazil and Pakistan, we want to be manufacturing and packaging our products in Lagos. So, this invitation aligns with our expansion goal and the company will seriously deliberate on this because Nigeria a big market for our products.”
Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai is an international air conditioning enterprise, which has integrated research & development, manufacturing, marketing and service into its operations. Initially assembling residential air conditioners, the company has over the years diversified into a technological global group, with expanded operations to air-conditioners, home appliances, high-end equipment and communication apparatuses sold widely in over 200 countries.
In 2015, Gree Electric Appliances ranked 385 in Forbes Global 2000 and number one in the household appliances industry. Two years later, the company, which started operations in 1991, was listed among the world’s top 500 public companies. It has been number one in the production and sale of residential air conditioners since 2005. Its sales revenue is over $16.51bn. The company paid up to $12.21bn in tax to become the foremost tax payer in the home appliances industry in China for 15years consecutively.