By: David Opeyemi Shodunke
Following the visit of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu to the headquarters of Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC Motors) in China, representatives of the company will be visiting Lagos State to study the viability of establishing a Vehicle Assembly Plant.
During his working visit, Governor Sanwo-Olu inspected the automobile manufacturing company’s factories, research and development centres as well as its training facilities, identified the huge job potentials that will accrue from establishment of similar facility in Lagos and implored the company to consider building an assembly plant in the State.
“I am excited at what I have seen in the course of my tour of your facility and I can assure you that there is a huge market for auto brands in Lagos State,” the Governor told his hosts.
“We have a population of over 22 million people, and Lagos is the most prosperous city in Africa, with our economy ranking as the 7th largest in Africa,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu continued, saying “On the government side, I think now is the right time for you to come to Lagos because we will support you. There is a Free Trade Zone you can locate your factories and Lagos has a pool of highly talented and innovative people that can provide a steady workforce supply for your operations in our State.”
He reiterated that his administration’s commitment to business innovation and process review was acknowledged by the World Bank as major drivers of Nigeria’s 15 places upward movement in the Ease of Doing Business Index.
Responding, the GAC Group Chairman, Mr. Zeng Qihong disclosed that the Group was considering expanding its business in international markets.
He said: “With the Governor’s invitation, we are quite confident and encouraged that coming to Lagos would be exciting. We will look into the process of establishing an operation base in Lagos after our international business department has visited to carry out a feasibility study of the market. We are optimistic about coming to Lagos because of the market size and the significance of the economy to Africa.”
At the meeting were top management members of GAC Motors, including the President of the company, Mr. Feng Xingya, General Director Zhang Yuesai, Director for International Business, Mr. Yu Jun and Regional Sales Director for African Region, Kamel Zheng.
It is anticipated that GAC Motors operations in Lagos will contribute to the development of the State’s economy and encourage technology transfer between China and Lagos.
GAC Group is ranked 189 on the list of Fortune 500 Companies. The company’s total revenue for 2018 was $53bn and its profit $10bn.
In 2018, the GAC brand passenger car exports accounted for 70 per cent of China’s passenger car exports to Nigeria. It has a national brand store and service centre in Nigeria, and recently completed its first SKD factory in the country.