By Zou Song, People’s Daily
Wide and flat roads, orderly traffic flow, and neatly built factory facilities – these are the most prominent features of the Hisense South Africa Industrial Park, a manufacturing quarter built by Chinese home appliance giant Hisense in Cape Town, North Africa.
“I’ve been working in this industry for nearly 30 years, and this year marks the 10th year for me to work in the industrial park. I’m glad to see the young people gaining better and better vocational skills today,” said Valeri, Workshop Director of Industrial Park Television Factory.
Valeri is about to retire. She had gone through the hardships of factory shutdowns and unemployment. For a time, she had to do some vending businesses to make a living.
After the Hisense South Africa Industrial Park was built in the Atlantis industrial area in Cape Town, the woman immediately applied for a job there.
She started from the most basic position and became a team leader and then workshop director after training. Valeri now has apprentices. The products manufactured by her factory are available in many home appliance shops in South Africa, which makes her proud, Valeri told People’s Daily.
The Hisense South Africa Industrial Park was jointly built by Hisense and the China-Africa Development Fund in 2013 with an investment of $350 million. After years of development, the park is able to produce 400,000 television sets and 400,000 refrigerators on an annual basis today.
Now, Hisense televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators and other home appliance products are sold in over 5,000 shops under 18 major chain stores across South Africa, accounting for 30 percent of the market share in the country. Besides, these products are exported to more than 10 African countries such as Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Madagascar, as well as European destinations including the UK.
More and more factories on the supply chain of the home appliance industry have been built in the Atlantis industrial area because of the influence of the Hisense South Africa Industrial Park. The Atlantis industrial area has become an important manufacturing hub for electronic and home appliance products in South Africa and designated as a national-level special economic zone.
Sizo Nkala, a researcher at University of Johannesburg Centre for Africa-China Studies, told People’s Daily that the Hisense South Africa Industrial Park, attracting more and more Chinese enterprises to South Africa, has contributed to South Africa’s re-industrialization.
While promoting industrialization in South Africa, Chinese enterprises attach high importance on talent cultivation, which helps improve vocational skills of the local workforce.
Many local workers including Valeri have joined vocational training programs launched by Chinese enterprises, and now about 70 percent of the management positions are held by local employees.
Besides, to improve the vocational skills of local young employees, Hisense and a local middle school have jointly established an electronics technology research and development training base, which offers electronic, software and equipment operation courses. So far, the base has trained a total of more than 1,400 people.
Today, Valeri and her family are living an obviously better life than before. She said her job has brought dramatic changes to her family. “We expanded our residence, and I can enjoy my twilight years after retirement,” she told People’s Daily.
A number of residents in the Atlantis industrial area have secured a job near their homes, and many of them have bought their own cars. Since the Hisense South Africa Industrial Park was put into use, it has created around 1,000 jobs for local people and indirectly offered 5,000 jobs.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and South Africa. Alvin Botes, Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, noted that Chinese enterprises have made constant and remarkable contributions to promoting South Africa’s industrialization. He hopes that the two countries can achieve more fruitful results in their future cooperation.
By Zou Song, People’s Daily