With grand fanfare, a new era in Richland County’s economic development kicked off today as one of the County’s largest business investors in history broke ground on a new facility.
Richland County Councilmembers and local and state officials joined representatives of China Jushi at a groundbreaking event for the company’s fiberglass manufacturing plant at the Pineview Industrial Park off Shop Road in southeastern Richland County. The new production plant – which will be China Jushi’s first manufacturing operation in the United States – is expected to bring $300 million and 400 jobs to the local economy.
“It’s a great day in Richland County,” said Richland County Council Chair Torrey Rush. “We’re excited to announce the largest capital investment in Richland County since 1984.”
Rush cited the County’s talented economic development department, the County’s forward-thinking acquisition of the 900-acre Pineview Industrial Park and the voter-approved penny sales tax as key components that attracted China Jushi to investing in Richland County. A penny sales tax-funded project is extending Shop Road into the industrial park, widening it and strengthening it to support heavy truck traffic and ease general traffic flow in the area.
During Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Zhu Hong, Minister of Economy and Commerce with the Chinese Embassy, referenced a common Chinese phrase, saying, “The future is bright, while the road is winding.” Indeed, Richland County’s path to the China Jushi groundbreaking has been a winding road.
The site once was considered for the new State Farmers Market that eventually settled in neighboring Lexington County. Then, voters approved the penny sales tax, which expanded the development potential for the location. Interest in the industrial park flowed and ebbed for several years until it secured its first tenant ― and a major one at that ― in China Jushi.
“Jushi USA will be provided with a good environment for growth and a good talent pool,” said Yuqiang Zhang, President of China Jushi. “This will be China Jushi’s second largest overseas plant … We’ll do our best to contribute to the local economy.”
China Jushi, which is headquartered in Zhejiang, China, is a leading supplier of fiberglass reinforcements and fabrics to the reinforced plastics industry worldwide. With more than 20 years of experience in the U.S. market, Jushi already has a strong brand influence in American markets.
The company's major products are fiberglass and related products, such as complex fiber products, yarns for high-performance wind power and oil high pressure pipes. Its products are applied in aerospace, construction, transportation, industrial equipment, wind power generation and other areas.
“We have more potential than any other place in this country,” said South Carolina Lt. Gov. Henry McMaster as he addressed the crowd of 200 at Thursday’s groundbreaking. “We are poised to lead the rest of the nation in good, strong economic development … thanks to partnerships like this one between Richland County and China Jushi.”
The $300 million investment in Richland County by China Jushi is the second largest in County history, behind the former Union Camp (International Paper) $600 million investment in 1984.
China Jushi expects construction of its new facility, which includes an 80,000-ton production line, to be complete 2018. For more information about China Jushi, visit www.jushiusa.com.
“We are honored and pleased to welcome China Jushi to Richland County,” Rush said. “And we look forward to forging a great relationship.”