Chinese media: Fuyao founder extols manufacturing in U.S.

Fuyao Global Chairman Cho Tak Wong at the formal opening of the Fuyao Glass America plant in Moraine in October. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

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Fuyao Global Chairman Cho Tak Wong at the formal opening of the Fuyao Glass America plant in Moraine in October. THOMAS GNAU/STAFF

The chairman of Fuyao Glass Industry Group and founder of one of the Dayton area’s fastest growing manufacturers is turning heads with recent comments in Chinese media, praising the comparative benefits of U.S. manufacturing.

Recent stories by the China Business Network, South China Morning Post and elsewhere are quoting Fuyao Chairman Cho Tak Wong — also called Cao Dewang — as extolling the benefits of investing in the United States.

Cho bought a former General Motors assembly plant in Moraine in May 2014 for $15 million and has built and reconfigured it into the world’s biggest single-site auto glass factory. The plant has north of 2,000 workers and is on its way to 3,000, when it’s fully operational.

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According to ejinsight.com, in a video interview, Cho said: “Apart from labor costs, everything else is cheaper in the U.S. than in China.”

In a story Thursday headlined “China’s ‘glass king’ shatters manufacturing wisdom with move to the U.S.,” the South China Morning Post said his comments come “as some companies are reconsidering their ­presence in China, and as U.S. President-Elect Donald Trump is trying to lure firms back to the U.S.”

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The Post said the Chinese government is “levying higher taxes and increasing social welfare payment obligations on companies, making it harder to run a factory.”

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“I just told the truth and spoke out about the problems,” Cho is quoted as saying in the Post.

James Browning, president of Auto Glass Digest, told the Dayton Daily News that Cho’s comments are “somewhat of a wake up call for the Chinese government.”

“I think his comments echo throughout the Chinese business world but few have are willing to say it,” said Browning, who is a former Fuyao consultant. “I also think its not a coincidence that these comments come on the heels of the Trump presidential election. The Dow has gained every week since the election and the the U.S. dollar is becoming stronger every day. It’s a sign that the business world has hope on the U.S. economy.”

The chief economist for the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Manufacturers, Chad Moutray, agreed that foreign investment is a sign of strength.

“The manufacturing sector in this U.S. received an all-time high level of foreign direct investment in 2015, reaching $1.2 trillion,” Moutray said in an email. “This is another sign of the health of the sector — perhaps surprising given conventional wisdom — and that the U.S. market remains robust for new activity.”

Fortune magazine’s web site, among others in the U.S. and elsewhere, took note of Cho’s comments.

Fortune magazine’s web site, among others in the U.S. and elsewhere, are taking note of Cho’s comments.

“Overall speaking, the tax burden for manufacturers in China is 35 percent higher than in the U.S.,” Fortune said Cho told China Business Network.

Stories on the remarks also ran in the Times of India and the Global Times.

“He added that a combination of cheap land, reasonable energy prices and other incentives means that, despite higher manufacturing costs, he can still make more money by making glass in the U.S. than by exporting Chinese-made panes to the U.S. market,” Fortune said in a story Thursday.

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In 2014, Fuyao Glass America received a $75 percent, 15-year tax credit from the state of Ohio, valued at $10 million. The company also received incentives from Montgomery County and the city of Moraine.

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