by Tichaona Chifamba
HARARE, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese company Sunny Yi Feng Tiles (Zimbabwe), which operates factories 40 km from Harare, is expected to reach full production soon, its management has said.
The firm started putting up structures at its Norton premises outside the Zimbabwean capital toward end of 2018.
It now runs three factories that put out tiles, cardboard boxes for packaging, and provide logistical support.
The company, which has 60 0 local and 60 Chinese employees, started producing tiles on May 12, just a year after it was registered in the country.
It now produces 25,000 square meters of tile a day, about 71 percent of its installed capacity of 35,000 square meters a day.
Company president Tang Yi told Xinhua on Thursday that 60 0 additional jobs would be created when the firm operates at full capacity.
"The 120 million U.S. dollar project has taken shape and three factories are now in production. One factory is for tile production, the other is printing boxes for packaging tiles while the third is the logistical support unit.
"We are on schedule. We intend to set up six factories here and we expect another factory possibly by July," Tang said.
Sunny Yi Feng plans to sell 70 percent of its tiles in the region and potentially to Europe, while the remainder will be consumed locally.
In an interview earlier, the political counselor at the Chinese embassy, Zhao Baogang, said the success of Sunny Yi Feng would attract more investors from China to Zimbabwe.
"This is one of the projects under the Belt and Road Initiative where we come to invest and create jobs and also eliminate poverty.
"Can you imagine that they started in October last year and only a few months down the line, they have built very big factories?" Zhao said. "This is the Chinese speed of doing things and with this kind of speed, Zimbabwe's economy will be turned around in the near future."
If Zimbabwe further improve the ease of doing business, particularly access to power, water and land, more Chinese investors would come, he said.
Raw materials for tile making at Sunny Yi Feng are obtained locally, largely from Mazowe, Chegutu, Selous and Chakari.
The company plans to invest in an industrial park where everything required in the construction process, except steel and cement, would be found.
Sunny Yi Feng also plans to build houses and a shopping mall nearby to help cut transport time and costs for employees.