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Belarus, Midea Group in talks over $0.5bn investment projects

Belarus and Midea Group are discussing promising investments worth of $0.5 billion, Belarus' Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko told the media, BelTA has learned. According to him, a number of new projects are in the pipeline. “Our partners are willing to work here in different forms: invest and build new factories to manufacture household appliances. The second form is to set up joint ventures, the third form is to buy out an existing enterprise,” the vice premier said. Vladimir Semashko said that the five projects, some of which are already under way, will see the investments reach $500-550 million within the next few years. The investments will be spent on the construction and assembly works, procurement of equipment and working capital. “If we calculate the maximum amounts which they talk about, this will be somewhere around $900 million, perhaps up to $1 billion in the annual production at all these enterprises and 150 million in budget revewnues in various forms,” Vladimir Semashko noted. He stressed that the Chinese partners view Belarus not only as a hub covering the Russian market, the Eurasian Economic Union or the CIS. They also began to promote the products to European markets. According to Vladimir Semashko, the parties launched the the project to produce microwave ovens at Midea Horizont some ten years ago. "We started with the production of 150,000 ovens a year. This year the production will reach 1.1 million. We are mulling over and, in fact, there is a decision to double the production to 2 million ovens per year. This will require additional investment,” he said. The production of coolers and water heaters was launched in March 2016. "Today, it is an important project because we have a surplus of electricity. With the launch of the nuclear power plant, this surplus will be even bigger. Water heaters are especially in demand in rural areas,” said Vladimir Semashko. In his words, about 70,000 water heaters have been produced since the project was launched. “We, however, are talking about a full technology cycle to manufacture about 500,000 items a year. It is a big, serious and important project,” the vice premier said. Vladimir Semashko also emphasized positive effects for the country's economy from the cooperation with the Chinese corporation, which also included the creation of new high-production jobs with attractive salaries. As it was informed, at the meeting with Chairman and President of Midea Group Fang Hongbo on 27 November Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko voiced the readiness to support new joint projects with Chinese partners. For his part, Chairman and President of Midea Group Fang Hongbo said he was satisfied with the results of the work in Belarus for the past ten years and expressed gratitude to the government for the support. “We intend to position Belarus as a hub which will cover all the CIS countries, to develop the production of microwave ovens and water heaters. We plan to manufacture household appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines,” Fang Hongbo said. Midea Group Corporation is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of home appliances in China and in the world. Currently, it operates over 200 subsidiaries, more than 60 overseas branches and 12 strategic business units. The corporation has production sites in China, Italy, Brazil, Argentina, Egypt, India, Japan, Thailand and Belarus.




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