Chinese auto major signs deal for bus assembly plant in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port

A Chinese automobile major has signed a preliminary deal that can pave the way to a bus assembly plant in southern Sri Lanka’s China-funded Hambantota port

Sep 23, 2021
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Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port

A Chinese automobile major has signed a preliminary deal that can pave the way to a bus assembly plant in southern Sri Lanka’s China-funded Hambantota port. China’s Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co. Ltd, inked the pact to expand its regional footprint, according to Hambantota International Port Group which is running a port and industrial zone
 
Xiamen King Long United Automotive Industry Co., Ltd., set up in 1988 makes large and medium-sized buses, coaches and vans and now exports to 140 countries.

HIPG’s investment promotion team headed by Justin Zhang, General Manager, Port Investment Services and Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Beijing Palitha Kohona had met King Long officials during a trade mission to China’s Fujian region.

“..[W]e can fully take this good opportunity to further discuss the possibility regarding local assembly factory in HIPG industrial park,” Vice President of King Long Motor Group, Zhang Bin was quoted as saying in a statement, according to ECONOMYNEXT.

“With the Hambantota Port being so strategically located, we would be able to reach newer markets in South East Asia,” he said.

Johnson Liu, Chief Representative of China Merchants Group in Sri Lanka and CEO of HIPG said the collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy in China and the efforts by Ambassador Palitha Kohona is an important link in bringing investment to Sri Lanka.

“We are exploring many other avenues in promoting investment and our investment promotion team is working very well with the Sri Lankan Embassy in China,” said Johnson Liu, Chief Representative of China Merchants Group in Sri Lanka and CEO of HIPG.

“We believe there is a great synergy to be achieved between China and Sri Lanka trade. The Hambantota Industrial Park is being promoted globally and it is our goal to have a vibrant international investor community operating within the zone,” he said.

Kohona welcomed the Chinese automaker to the Southern District.

“Sri Lanka welcomes Chinese high-end manufacturing facilities in Sri Lanka and commend King Long for choosing the Hambantota International Port Group’s Industrial Park to expand its regional footprint,” Kohona said

Kong Long currently has three production locations, the statement said.

Under a 2017 agreement, Sri Lanka Ports Authority created Hambantota International Port Group (HIPG), which became a joint venture after China Merchant Ports bought an 85 percent stake in HIPG as part of the Chinese company's USD 1.12 billion investment into the port.

As per the agreement, HIPG has been given a 99-year lease. During this period, HIPG has the right to develop and operate the Hambantota port exclusively.

The agreement also stipulated the creation of a 15,000-acre special economic zone.

The 2017 deal has opened Hambantota to China’s ambitious global infrastructure project Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

(SAM)