A high profile Chinese delegation swept into the city this week to foster economic and cultural ties with Nelson Mandela Bay.
The delegation from Changchun City, known as the cradle of China’s automotive industry, met with industry leaders in manufacturing, agriculture and education before visiting the Coega IDZ.
South African Automotive Week director, Andrew Binning, hosted the group on their first visit to the city, after having made contact with them in July on an official visit to China.
Binning said one of the highlights of the visit for the group was a meeting with Executive Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile, with whom discussions have been initiated to consider an official “Automotive Sister Cities Agreement” between the two regions.
The birthplace of FAW Group, the nation’s first State-owned automaker, Changchun is known as the cradle of China’s automotive industry.
After decades of development, the Jilin provincial capital became the eighth city in the world to have a production capacity of more than 1 million vehicles a year.
Currently, Changchun has 26 vehicle manufacturers and 416 producers of auto parts.
Around one fifth of the city’s parts makers have an annual output value above 100 million yuan, Binning said.
Binning said the delegation was wowed by the beauty of the city and pledged to return in October for South African Automotive Week – an international automotive tradeshow hosted in Nelson Mandela Bay by the automotive industry, Eastern Cape Province, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Coega and the East London IDZ, Transet, thedti, merSETA, the IDC and AIDC.
“This delegation represented significant investment interest and opportunity for the metro and I was encouraged by the manner in which they were received by the Nelson Mandela Bay Chamber of Commerce, industry and the Mayor.
“I believe their continued interest in reciprocal trade opportunity can be of significant benefit to the region”, Binning said.
Over 30 Chinese automotive manufacturers will spearhead international visitation to the region to participate in South African Automotive Week.