ZRENJANIN, Serbia — China's Shandong Linglong Tire Co. Ltd. has laid a ceremonial corner stone for its greenfield tire factory project in Zrenjanin, signaling the start of construction for the $994 million project in northern Serbia.
In a global partner conference held March 29-30 in Serbia, the company said it had secured 320 acres of land in the Zrenjanin Free Trade Zone for the plant, which is to be built in three phases over six years. The plant itself will span 4.24 million square feet, Linglong said.
"We will … ensure the rapid and high-quality construction of the project, [and] strive for early production," Wang Feng, Linglong Tire chairman and CEO, said at the ceremony.
The Serbian plant, to be operated by Linglong International Europe d.oo. Zrenjanin, is rated at 13.6 million tires per year, comprising: 12 million car tires, 1.6 million truck/bus tires and 20,000 off-the-road tires.
Linglong disclosed its selection of Zrenjanin in August 2018 after a two-plus year search for a second overseas site.
Linglong opened its first overseas plant in 2014, in Rayong, Thailand, and operates four plants in China.
The facility, Linglong said, will employ artificial intelligence, mobile sensing, "big data" and robotics.
Linglong, the No. 17 tire maker in 2017 based on sales of $2.18 billion, said the Serbian unit and the development of European sales will help it become the world's 10th largest tire maker.