Chinese Company Establishes U.S. Manufacturing Operations in the Lehigh Valley
By LV Staff on May 29, 2014
Taizhou Fuling Plastics Co. Ltd., China’s largest manufacturer of plastic tableware and kitchenware, became the first Chinese-based company to establish its American operations in the Lehigh Valley.
Fuling Plastics USA will operate out of an 88,000 square-foot facility that sits on 7.7 acres of land. Company officials said Fuling will make a $21.3 million investment in the project that is expected to create 75 new jobs. Manufacturing operations are expected to begin by October.
“This is a significant development for the Lehigh Valley,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of LVEDC. “This is a region with a long manufacturing history and we are leading the way in the United States by attracting a Chinese company to come here and make its products with American workers. We are honored that Fuling has chosen the Lehigh Valley.”
Fuling employs 1,500 people worldwide. The company decided to open its first U.S. manufacturing operation in the Lehigh Valley after considering locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and four different sites in Pennsylvania.
“We selected the Lehigh Valley because of its location and the cooperation of officials from the state and the Lehigh Valley to bring us here,” Hu Xin, Fuling CEO, said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony today (5/29) that featured Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley in Upper Macungie.
Lt. Gov. Cawley welcomed Fuling to Pennsylvania on behalf of Governor Tom Corbett and emphasized Pennsylvania’s fast pace of growth since the end of the recession.
Fuling supplies plastic utensils to fast food giants Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and others. The company is also a supplier for three national supermarket chains: Wal-Mart, BJ’s Wholesale and Target.
Company officials credited an increased volume of sales in the U.S. along with the desire to reduce transportation costs as primary reasons for opening its first U.S. manufacturing facility.
“It becomes a wise choice by a responsible entrepreneur to establish a factory near its customers,” said Hu Xin. “This is very important to the direction of Fuling America. We were immediately attract by the beautiful environment, convenient transportation, strong support network and public security of the Lehigh Valley. …We know that Allentown region is a dynamic market and a great plastics research center.”
LVEDC worked on the recruitment of Fuling for nearly a year in concert with Pennsylvania’ Department of Community and Economic Development and Governor Corbett’s Action Team. The project was coordinated by DCED’s Office of International Business Development in collaboration with the Governor’s Action Team, U.S. Commercial Service in China, the PA Office in Taiwan and LVEDC.
“Our manufacturing base in the Lehigh Valley continues to grow,” Cunningham said. “We see continued potential in attracting international manufacturers to make product in our area because of our workforce and great accessibility to the entire East Coast consumer market. Fuling is an example of how the Lehigh Valley can continue to grow and create manufacturing jobs.”
The Lehigh Valley is the 68th largest metropolitan region in the United States and has a $33 billion economy with more than 15,000 businesses.
Founded in 1992, Fuling maintains three production operations and a research and development center in China, where Fuling is considered a leading exporter, a national high-tech enterprise and an environmentally conscious company.
“It is hard to find an American who has never used Fuling products,” Fu Hu said to put the company’s reach into perspective. Fuling’s products are also exported to Europe, Australia, South America and the Middle East.
In addition to Lt. Gov. Cawley, the outdoor announcement ceremony was attended by Lehigh County Executive Tom Muller, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Upper Macungie Supervisor Kathy Rader, Fuling representatives, Janet Smith of the Governor’s Action Team, and a number of representatives of federal and state elected officials.
FULING PLASTICS USA COMPANY INFORMATION
- Taizhou Fuling Plastics Co. Ltd (Fuling) was founded in October 1992 in Songmen, Wenling City, Zhejiang Province, China.
- Fuling Plastics USA is the company’s American subsidiary.
- The company currently has three production operations in China, along with a research and development center.
- The company has more than 1,500 employees worldwide.
- Fuling’s products are exported throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and Middle East.
- The company plans to lease the facility for a period of three to five years with the ultimate goal being the acquisition of the facility.
- The project budget includes leasehold improvements, acquisition of equipment, furniture, fixtures and the training of workforce.
- The company is expected to create a total of 75 positions. They will also retain one position.
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