Haier Group Co., the biggest household-appliance maker in China, is in talks with Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) to build a silicon wafer plant in the port city of Qingdao in eastern China, Yang Mianmian, president of Haier, has said. Yang said that a statement Charoen Pokphand issued Feb. 11, denying a ChinaNews Web site report of their joint plan to build a U.S> $270 million plant, referred to details of the venture, not the plan itself. Charoen, an investment group owned by one of the richest families in Thailand, owns the Lotus Superstore retail chain in China and is one of the country's biggest foreign investors.
"Charoen Pokphand Group wouldn't have made a hasty decision to invest in such a project unless they are sure of their prospects," Yang said.
The demand for semiconductors in China is expected to surge to $24.2 billion in 2005, from $10 billion in 2000, the Ministry of Information Industry has estimated.
Yang declined to give details about the proposed plant with Charoen Pokphand, except to say, "We have given them our word we will be part of this."
Charoen Pokphand will own up to 60 percent of the plant, which will make 8-inch wafers used to make chips for computers and home appliances, ChinaNews said in its report last month.
Haier makes refrigerators, air conditioners, washing machines and cellular phones in China. It sells products in Japan through a tie-up with Sanyo Electric Co. and sells in Taiwan through an alliance with Sampo Corp. Charoen's businesses include agriculture, telecommunications, food, petrochemicals and real estate. The company was an early investor in China, starting in 1979. It owns the $400 million, 2.5-million-square-foot (232,000-square-meter) Super Brand Mall in Shanghai, the biggest Chinese shopping center. (International Herald)
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