Chinese Consul General in Chicago Hong Lei speaks at the opening ceremony of the manufacturing facility of Chinese ball bearing supplier CW Bearing in Northville Township to the west of Detroit, the United States, on Aug. 25, 2017. (Xinhua/Gao Pan)
After more than 20 years of sales operation and research and development in Southern California, Chinese ball bearing supplier CW Bearing moved to suburban Detroit, the historic heart of the American automotive industry, to build its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing facility.
It's the latest example of Chinese companies increasing investment in the U.S. Midwest to upgrade their manufacturing capabilities to better serve American customers, create new jobs and help revive the rust-belt region.
With initial investment of around 20 million U.S. dollars, the CW Bearing manufacturing facility, opened Friday in Northville Township, west of Detroit, will supply ball bearings for the electronic power steering (EPS) system of a wide range of vehicles, including the most popular SUVs and pickup trucks such as the Ford F-150 pickups.
The company plans to further expand the manufacturing facility with the second-phase investment of 20 million dollars and bring a total of 125 new jobs to the local community over the next five years, Hu Lirong, president and CEO of CW Bearing USA Inc., told Xinhua in a recent interview.
With the capacity and capabilities of designing, testing, engineering and assembling in the new manufacturing facility, the company aims to sell 500 million bearings in North America by 2025, Hu said.
As the product lines are almost automated, the new jobs to be created by CW Bearing are mainly technicians and engineers that know how to fix machines. The company has hired around 50 local employees and collaborated with the University of Michigan in research and internship programs, according to Hu.
"It marks a big step forward of transformation and upgrading of CW Bearing," Hu Xiangeng, Chairman of Cixing Group, the parent company of CW Bearing, said Friday at an opening ceremony of the manufacturing facility.
That's the best annotation of the CW development philosophy, which is "globalization of market, internationalization of talents, and high-end oriented products," he said, noting Chinese companies have to catch up with world-class technology by internationalization.
The privately-owned Cixing Group, established in China's eastern coastal province of Zhejiang in 1985, has become a global manufacturer of ball bearings for electrical motors, gearboxes, power tools and automakers, with offices in Asia, Europe and North America.
The CW Bearing set up its first U.S. operation in Southern California in 1993, and began to build its American headquarters and manufacturing facility in Northville, Michigan, in late 2015.
Jay Click, vice president for CW Bearing's North American operations, said one of the reasons for building manufacturing facility here is to shorten the delivery time and better serve U.S. auto manufacturers, as the company is a Tier 2 supplier to Ford and General Motors.
Cheaper costs of land and energy in the Midwest, tax abatement from the local government, and good relations between Michigan and China are also important factors that induce the company to invest here, according to Click.