Oct 27, Colombo: The Fortune 500 Chinese automotive manufacturing company, Geely, which owns Sweden's Volvo and part produces the famed London's black taxi cabs, is entering Sri Lanka in collaboration with Micro Cars Ltd.
"We warmly welcome Geely to Sri Lanka. Geely's entry in collaboration with our 'Sri Lankan pride' Micro Cars will significantly enhance our automotive industry's profile but more importantly, shows that Sri Lanka has won the confidence of the giant global automotive manufacturing industry" Sri Lankan Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiyutheen, announced Thursday.
A special investment team of Shanghai's Geely International Corporation led by Martin Xiang, Director of Geely, and Dr. Lawrence Perera, Chairman of Micro Cars Ltd. participated in discussions with officials of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, including Minister Bathiyutheen, Secretary Anura Siriwardena and several Directors of the Department of Commerce.
"We have realized that Sri Lanka has become a key market but more importantly, a manufacturing hub in the South Asia for car makers, especially due to its strategic placement. We are now working towards a Joint Venture initiative with Sri Lanka's Micro Cars Ltd." Xiang has said during the meeting with the Minister.
Elaborating further, the Director of Geely has said that his company wants to use Sri Lanka as their production hub and to export to South Asia and the Far East from Sri Lanka.
"We want to assemble here first and later we want to start total manufacturing processes," he has indicated.
Geely is initially considering an assembly line with $ 20 million in shared investment with Micro Cars and 500 new employments in automotive manufacturing at a new plant being planned in Hambantota.
The work on making the factory will start in mid-2013 and Phase I will be completed by end of 2014 to roll-out the first car in January 2015.
"We also believe that we can convert and equip Sri Lankan workers with true automotive manufacturing skills" Xiang has said.
The Minister responding to the executive has expressed hope that Geely will use the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA) and Sri Lanka Pakistan Free Trade Agreement to export to the two huge markets from Sri Lanka.
"Geely can expand its exports to other South Asian markets from here thereby contributing to our exports basket, " the Minister has said.
He has urges the Geely to consider taking Sri Lankan graduates for employment at the venture.