Durban - South Korean electronics and technology giant Samsung is to invest billions in a factory at Dube TradePort, near King Shaka International Airport.
Dube TradePort bosses and KwaZulu-Natal Economic Development MEC Michael Mabuyakhulu have been tight-lipped about the company’s investment in a new Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at the trade port, but Lionel October, the director-general of the Department of Trade and Industry, confirmed to The Mercury that Samsung was finalising plans for a new factory.
“We are in advanced talks with Samsung to invest in a major factory at Dube TradePort. They want to come in to take advantage of the tax and other manufacturing incentives that will be offered as part of Dube TradePort becoming one of South Africa’s new SEZs, which are aimed at boosting industrial development and exports,” he said.
The factory would initially focus on production of “white goods”, such as fridges and other appliances, but would expand its range.
“They are looking at producing a whole suite of goods for the local and Africa export market, but will start with a small product range. We want to encourage them to expand production to electronics and higher value technology products over time,” he said.
October said the department, Dube TradePort and the KwaZulu-Natal government had held extensive negotiations with Samsung.
Mabuyakhulu hinted at “good news” for KZN last year when he said an Asian company was planning to invest R3-R4 billion.
The Mercury understands that Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has held talks with Samsung bosses to help close the deal.
He is said to have motivated for a bigger investment of a fully fledged electronics factory.
“We hope this investment into Dube TradePort will become Samsung’s manufacturing hub for Africa,” said October.
Samsung is trying to keep the investment “below the radar”, especially that of emerging competitors, such as China’s Hisense, which set up a TV production plant in the Western Cape last year.
Approached for comment, Samsung Electronics South Africa’s deputy managing director, Matthew Thackrah, said: “At this stage we are unable to comment, but will share information as it becomes available.”
However, he added in an e-mailed response that Samsung believed that its efficacy and success relied on its ability to create new business, products and technology. - The Mercury