China firm picks N. Carolina site

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

A Chi­nese com­pany has se­lected a ru­ral area in North Carolina for a new plant that will cre­ate 88 jobs.

U-Play Cor­po­ra­tion, a con­tract man­u­fac­turer of dis­pos­able san­i­tary prod­ucts, an­nounced in Au­gust that it will build a plant in Wayne County. The com­pany plans to in­vest $21.3 mil­lion in the fa­cil­ity near the town of Mount Olive, a com­mu­nity of about 4,600 nearly 70 miles south­east of Raleigh, the state cap­i­tal.

“U- Play will cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties not only for the cit­i­zens of Mount Olive but for the en­tire county (Wayne). It will also oc­cupy a great fa­cil­ity that has been un­der­uti­lized for sev­eral years,” Crys­tal Get­tys, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Wayne County De­vel­op­ment Al­liance in Golds­boro, North Carolina, said in an email.

This will be U-Play’s first US fa­cil­ity. Get­tys said all 88 jobs – cre­ated over a four-year pe­riod – will be full time.

“We’re pleased U-Play rec­og­nized the many ad­van­tages of do­ing busi­ness in North Carolina. It’s not un­com­mon for us to be in a com­pet­i­tive sit­u­a­tion when it comes to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment projects such as this one. In this case, we were competing with a lo­ca­tion in South Carolina (Mar­ion),” David Rhoades of the North Carolina De­part­ment of Com­merce wrote in an email.

Rhoades said U-Play will hire management, crafts­men, and sales staff. “The com­pany’s an­nual pay­roll will add more than $2.75 mil­lion to the lo­cal econ­omy,” he said.

“North Carolina is a fan­tas­tic place for our busi­ness be­cause of its clus­ter of raw-ma­te­rial sup­pli­ers, well-trained work­force and busi­ness-friendly en­vi­ron­ment,” U-Play CEO Hancy Cheng said in a state­ment. “We want to put to­gether all these ad­van­tages to cre­ate a man­u­fac­tur­ing hub for our com­pany to bet­ter serve our US cus­tomers.”

U-Play man­u­fac­tures wet wipes, adult in­con­ti­nence prod­ucts and puppy-train­ing pads. The pur­pose of the Mount Olive plant is to bet­ter serve the com­pany’s orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers (OEM) and mar­ket their own “Made in USA” brand.

Founded in 2006, pub­licly held U-Play is based in China’s An­hui prov­ince and em­ploys 310 peo­ple.

U-Play’s ar­rival in North Carolina was fa­cil­i­tated in part by a per­for­mance-based grant of up to $200,000 from the One North Carolina Fund which helps lo­cal gov­ern­ments cre­ate jobs and at­tract in­vest­ment.

Com­pa­nies re­ceive no money up­front and must meet jobcre­ation and cap­i­tal in­vest­ment tar­gets to qual­ify for pay­ment. All grants are con­tin­gent upon a lo­cal gov­ern­ment match.

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