China's 'glass king' to complete U.S. expansion despite Trump tensions

Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:37am EST
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By Julie Zhu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's largest auto glass manufacturer, Fuyao Glass Industry Group (600660.SS: Quote), will press ahead with investments worth about $1 billion in the United States this year despite criticism at home amid growing China-U.S. tensions, the company's chairman said.

The company also expects to invest a further $130 million in Germany and Russia this year as it looks to tap into more high-end overseas markets, Cao Dewang told Reuters in an interview in Hong Kong on Monday.

Cao, whose company is already the biggest investor in Ohio, said he planned to create about 4,500 jobs by setting-up plants in Ohio, Illinois and Michigan this year.

The move has sparked outrage on Chinese social media, with netizens urging the government to stop Cao from "running away" at a time when U.S. regulators are stepping up scrutiny of Chinese buyers and new U.S. President Donald Trump has strongly criticized Chinese trade practices.

But Cao, who briefly met Trump last year, said the United States was a logical place to invest for Fuyao, which supplies almost every auto brand including Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote), General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) and Ford Motor Co (F.N: Quote).

"America is the biggest overseas market for us. I can and will make money in the U.S.," he said.

"Trump is a very smart person. His presidency will not affect Fuyao's investments in the U.S."

Fuyao expected to increase the orders it receives in the United States from $600 million currently to $1 billion over the next two to three years, he said.   Continued...

Fuyao Glass Industry Group Chairman Cho Tak-wong poses during an interview in Hong Kong, China February 27, 2017. Picture taken February 27, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip