Shipment arriving in Port Elizabeth Photo: Supplied

PORT ELIZABETH - The first shipment of assembly equipment for the new R11 billion car plant being built in Port Elizabeth arrived in December, Beijing Automobile International Corporation (BIAC) South Africa said.

A statement released on behalf of BIAC and Industrial Development Corporation revealed that the shipment comprises components for vehicle assembly, welding and painting plant equipment.

BAIC said that the industry standard equipment, on-line-testing, installation service, logistics and consumable items will be locally procured, accounting for 15% of the total equipment value in terms of the agreement with Beijing Industrial Designing & Research Institute.

Coega Development Corporation signed a deal with BIAC in August 2016 for construction of an automotive manufacturing facility in the Coega Special Economic Zone.

This investment adds to the province's major plants already in place, such as General Motors and Volkswagen plants. 

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BAIC SA head of marketing and planning, Gary Yang said, "Under body, main body and body adjustment line will enable manufacturing of both left and right hand drives and the assembly line is flexible to handle various body structure vehicle assembly". 

Yang noted that their modular engineering design will accommodate a variety of assembly procedures for different models and the painting line is also flexible for various models.

When the two parties sealed the deal in 2016, the Trade and Industry Minister, Rob Davies said the investment is significant and deepens the country’s economic relationship with China.

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"The size of this investment demonstrates confidence by China and confidence in South Africa as an investment destination. The investment is strategic and is a major project in terms of our bilateral relationship and a key project supported by the Inter Ministerial Committee on Investment", he said.

The Vice President of the People’s Republic of China, Dr Li Yuanchao recently visited SA, honouring an invite by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In the meeting, it was agreed by both sides that remarkable progress had been made in relations between the two countries over the past three years, characterised as a comprehensive strategic partnership.

- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE