When Fuyao Group Chairman Cao Dewang, also known as Cho Tak Wong, envisioned an investment in the U.S., he aimed for something bold: the world’s largest glass manufacturing plant.
Fuyao Group is one of the world’s leaders in automotive glass production for OEMs and the aftermarket for replacement glass. Ohio was one of several states the company considered for a significant glass manufacturing facility, and it quickly rose to the top of the list for its responsiveness and support in the evaluation of multiple sites in Ohio.
Fuyao officials had been considering Ohio for this investment. Kristi Tanner, a JobsOhio senior vice president, visited Fuyao corporate headquarters in Fuzhou, China, and encouraged corporate leaders to visit those sites in Ohio. After its visits, Fuyao ultimately selected an abandoned factory in Moraine, near Dayton, Ohio, which was previously occupied by General Motors.
On Jan. 10, 2014, Gov. John Kasich and Cao Dewang announced the company’s decision to open Fuyao Glass America in Ohio.
Fuyao’s Moraine site would give the company access to a skilled workforce and to automotive suppliers and customers. JobsOhio and the Dayton Development Coalition worked with local officials to support the redevelopment of the site and surrounding infrastructure, and with workforce service providers to recruit employees for Fuyao’s new investment.
In June 2016, Fuyao announced it would add an additional 240,000 square feet at its site in Moraine, bringing its total footprint to 2 million square feet, and that it would commit to creating 1,550 jobs.
Fuyao and Ohio, along with a host of dignitaries and nearly 700 guests, celebrated the grand opening of Fuyao’s newest U.S. plant on Oct. 7, 2016. Cao Dewang said the company invested nearly $477 million to convert the former General Motors assembly plant. By August 2016, the number of contractors working on the site had at times nearly surpassed the total number of direct Fuyao employees to keep pace with the company’s production goals.
Fuyao’s Moraine plant today is the world’s largest glass production facility. The investment is China’s largest ever in Ohio and its eighth largest in the U.S. in the last decade. Moreover, it is also the largest greenfield Chinese investment in the country. Fuyao doubled its need for employees in its first year and started shipping glass several months ahead of its original goal.
Fuyao also integrated into the community and became involved with nearby education institutions including Sinclair Community College, with which Fuyao partnered to establish a workforce recruitment and training program that serves as a model for other companies seeking to quickly ramp up a large workforce, much like Fuyao has done in Ohio.
Fuyao has been a magnet for additional investments near Moraine from other businesses, as two small firms made investments near Fuyao and multiple others were drawn to the campus and further boosting the local economy.
Fuyao’s “Ohio Success” is ongoing and the company continues investing in the state. In January 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted joined JobsOhio, Fuyao Chairman Cao Dewang and China Consul General Huang Ping to announce that Fuyao Glass America would invest another $46 million and create 100 jobs at its Moraine facility. This brings Fuyao’s total investment in Ohio to $406 million and the number of jobs created to 2,400.
The project also included investment for research and development, as well as equipment purchases to help produce more aftermarket auto glass for companies including Safelite, which is headquartered in nearby Columbus, Ohio. The company also acquired an additional 161,000 square feet at the Moraine facility.
“The automotive industry is global, and without our initial investment in the U.S., Fuyao wouldn’t have been able to grow and support our many great customers,” said Fuyao’s Cao Dewang. “The state of Ohio, JobsOhio, the Dayton Development Coalition, Montgomery County, the city of Moraine and many others have provided critical support to Fuyao since we first arrived in Ohio in 2014. We are grateful for their partnership and look forward to a bright future here.”
“JobsOhio and our local partners appreciate the investments Fuyao has made in Moraine to create jobs as well as its philanthropy to support the local community,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “As Fuyao continues to grow in Ohio, we are not only strengthening our business ties, we are reminded of what can be achieved when people from different countries and cultures work together.”
Fuyao’s case demonstrates that international investments facilitated by Ohio’s economic development network have an ascending impact on surrounding communities. Fuyao’s Ohio presence is a model example of how local, regional and state economic development leaders collaborate to put the client first and work with international corporate leaders to support their worldwide investment efforts.