GUANGZHOU, China — China's Guangzhou Vanlead Group Co. Ltd. has put on hold indefinitely plans it announced a year ago to invest $1 billion in a tire plant in South Carolina.
Guangzhou Vanlead, a China state-owned entity that controls Wanli Tire Group, had proposed building a tire plant in Orangeburg County, S.C., capable of producing 6 million consumer tires annually in the eight-year project's first phase.
Sources at the Orangeburg County Development Commission (OCDC) confirmed recently that the project is in "neutral," although the OCDC hasn't ruled out completely that it may still come to fruition. The commission has begun showing other prospective clients the as-yet unidentified plot of land that the Wanli plant was supposed to occupy.
A Wanli source in China confirmed the project's status, saying the company is evaluating alternative locations in Southeast Asia and Middle/Eastern Europe.
The Guangzhou-based entity disclosed its proposed U.S. investment in late April 2017 at the China (Guangdong)-U.S. Investment Cooperation Conference held in Guangzhou.
That event was organized by the Department of Commerce of Guangdong Province and American Chamber of Commerce in South China.
At the conference, Vanlead Group Chairman Fu Shoujie disclosed that his enterprise was prepared to invest $1 billion in two phases over eight years to build a radial tire plant in Orangeburg County, S.C.
The second phase would double the size of the proposed existing facility.
Among the company's core subsidiaries are South China Tire & Rubber Co. and Guangzhou Rubber Enterprise Group Co. Ltd., which together comprise Wanli Tire Group.