Chinese sweater maker commences operation
Lonto Garment PLC, one of the subsidiaries of the Chinese Shangtex Holding, has commenced production with its newly installed sweater manufacturing plant in Ethiopia.
Scheduled to be inaugurated today, Lonto Garment has finalized machinery installations inside the 7,000sq.m. plant located within the vicinity of the Eastern Industrial Zone – the Chinese owned manufacturing zone in the country. The digitized operational system introduces new equipment and machineries which include knitting, linking, flat and the like.
Xue Jifeng, vice president of Shanghai Dragon Corporation – responsible for the Ethiopian subsidiary – said that the first African plant operational in Ethiopia is deemed to supply major international buyers.
Creating 400 jobs upon entering production, the garment maker targets annual revenue of USD 10 million and plans to create 1,000 more jobs when it reaches full capacity. According to Jifeng, this year alone around 50,000 sweaters will be exported and expected to generate USD two million. By the end of 2019, assuming things go as planned, the plant will double export volumes with possible expansions.
Italy, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, Japan, the US and the like are some of the market destinations the Ethiopian plant targets.
According to both Jifeng and Hai Hong Zhu, general manager of Lonto Garment in Ethiopia, said a supply order of 30,000 sweaters has been received from Italian buyers. The first shipments are due by the end of May.
When asked about the size of the investment, Jifeng said that the company wanted to start small and see how things work in this part of Africa. “Until we understand how the business works, we wanted to put up USD two million.”
Jifeng stated that the size of the initial investment should not create wrong impressions about Shangtex Group. She said USD 15 billion in annual sales revenue generating conglomerate is in fact considering Ethiopia to be a hub for its operations in Africa. The company under its subsidiaries is studying ways to install its own industrial park in Ethiopia.
With 6000 outlets across 100 countries, Shangtex is a multinational company in which its core business is development of new functional chemical fibers and material products with the features of high technology, differentiation and environmental friendliness. Fashion and design ventures also enabled the company manufacture and source its own various garment and fabric brands.