In a rousing celebration of business investment and international cooperation, Fuyao Glass America officially cut the ribbon to its Moraine plant Friday before 700 guests, marking what the company expects will be decades of success.
The world’s largest automotive glass production plant already employs 2,000 people and expects to hire 300 to 500 more in coming months.
But Cho Tak Wong — chairman of Fuyao Glass America’s corporate parent, Fuyao Group — said after the ribbon cutting that, in time, he expects the Moraine plant to have 3,000 workers.
John Gauthier, Fuyao Glass America president, cautioned that Cho did not attach a timeline to that expectation.
In total, Fuyao has invested $600 million in Moraine and $1 billion total across the United States, in facilities in Illinois, Michigan and South Carolina.
“We think there’s great significance with the opening of this facility here,” said Cho, who is also called Cao Dewang. “It will contribute to the healthy development of the Sino-U.S. relations.”
Guests at the grand opening event held just outside the plant off Encrete Lane expressed their appreciation, most of them noting that Fuyao refurbished and rebuilt a vehicle assembly plant that had been shut down by General Motors nearly eight years ago.
“Your commitment to an area of the state that was in need of a big win cannot be overstated,” Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor said.
“We’ve seen a really terrific transformation of a building that has been vacant for far too long,” said Gov. John Kasich, speaking in a video recorded for the grand opening.
“We really consider this to be a team effort, to really take a dream and create a reality, a reality that’s behind us today,” said Dan Curran, former president of the University of Dayton and now an independent board member for Fuyao Glass America.
The grand opening events took place on a summerlike morning before a stage set up outside the plant. Videos ran continuously on dual screens on either side of the stage.
In recorded videos visible on the screens, company leaders talk about bringing Fuyao to Moraine, creating a plant with the capacity to make the glass for one in four cars in the United States.
In one video, Cho is featured, talking about his humble origins in China, of selling fruit on the street as a child, and of how his parents were his first teachers in life.
“Never lose your dignity when you are poor.” Cho said.
He started the company in 1987, deciding to make glass in China when he saw that almost all automotive glass at that time was imported to his country.
For seven straight years, Fuyao has made a list of top 500 Chinese private companies. Today, Fuyao Group is the world’s largest automotive glass manufacturer.
Taylor and others noted that Fuyao might have built an American production plant anywhere, but the chairman chose Ohio.
“You will not be disappointed,” Taylor said.
Curran and others praised Cho for working to be “visible” in Dayton and Ohio.
“One of the most important things we can build anywhere is relationships,” Kasich said.
Cho came to Ohio at the invitation of JobsOhio and Dayton Development Coalition officials, visiting the area first in 2013.
In January, 2014, in a statehouse ceremony in Columbus with Kasich, he first announced his intention to buy the plant.
He did five months later, writing real estate developer Industrial Realty Group Principal Stu Lichter — who bought the property in 2011 — a $15 million check in a meeting at Sinclair Community College.
Plant reconstruction started in June 2014. Speaking through a translator, Cho said the plant’s capacity will be sufficient to supply glass for 4.5 million automobiles and 4 million aftermarket glass sets.