Arkansas lures Chinese clothing plant

Updated: 2016-10-31 11:28

By Paul Welitzkin in New York(China Daily USA)

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A Chinese clothing manufacturer plans to open a plant in the Arkansas state capital that will eventually employ 400, continuing the state's success in luring investment from the mainland.

Suzhou Tianyuan Garments Co, which makes clothing for Adidas, Reebok and Armani, said earlier this month it will invest $20 million in the plant in Little Rock. The 400 workers will be paid an average of $14 an hour.

Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said that Little Rock's location was a major factor in securing the plant.

"Little Rock was chosen due to its strategic location that allows companies to ship products throughout the US and the world efficiently. Little Rock provides easy access to a major interstate (Interstate 40) that connects the east and west coasts, excellent rail infrastructure and a port on the Arkansas River," Preston said in an email.

Tianyuan makes about 10 million articles of clothing annually and supplies 90 percent of Adidas garments. The company hopes the Little Rock plant will be operational by the end of 2017.

Incentives for the plant include a $1 million infrastructure assistance grant, $500,000 for training and an estimated $1.6 million in rebates based on the company's annual payroll. Tianyuan will also gain the state's assistance in obtaining 20 work visas.

The Tianyuan investment comes as Sun Paper, based in Shandong province, hopes to begin construction in 2017 on its first facility in North America in the city of Arkadelphia which is located about 65 miles southwest of Little Rock. Company and state officials said they expect the mill to employ 250 directly, about 2,000 during construction and create an additional 1,000 jobs indirectly in the timber industry.

"Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and I have been very aggressive in seeking foreign direct investment from China," said Preston. "Last week we completed our second trip to China where we met with a variety of companies."