Geely's JVs ride B&R, energize auto and spares businesses, expand footprint
Since the first assembled-in-Belarus Geely Atlas rolled off the production line on Nov 17 last year, BelGee, the Sino-Belarusian automaker, has seen a surge in sales. It makes three vehicle models and has sold 3,000 units since then, with 2,000 of them exported to Russia alone.
In fact, 70 percent of the vehicles BelGee makes are exported, mostly to Russia, with the rest sold in Belarus.
"As our only plant in eastern Europe, BelGee is very important in terms of Geely's overseas development strategy. It will anchor the future expansion of Geely in this region," said Cheng Wen'an, vice-president of production at BelGee.
To implement its go-global strategy as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd teamed up with four companies to form BelGee, the first Sino-Belarusian automotive joint venture.
BelGee was formed in 2011 with a registered capital of $53.46 million. It entailed total investment of $3400 million so far.
BelAz, a Belarusian manufacturer of mining dump trucks of heavy-duty and super-size load capacity, is the largest shareholder of BelGee with a 52.49 percent stake, followed by Geely Holding Group, which owns a 33.36 percent stake.
In September 2017, the first phase of construction of a BelGee plant to make completely knocked down or CKD units was finished, covering an area of 92 hectares.
The plant contains welding, painting and assembly shops. Located between Borisov and Zhodino in Belarus, the plant started production in July this year.
Its maximum production capacity is expected to be 400,000 units per year in the first phase and 120,000 units in the second phase.
The plant currently employs less than 1,000 people and will create over 1,700 jobs when it starts running at its full capacity during the first phase of the project. About 98 percent of the employees will be local residents.
"BelGee is the first plant in Belarus to assemble sedans. It has strategic significance. Before Geely came here, we could only produce farm and mechanical vehicles," said Gennady Svidersky, Belarusian first deputy industry minister and the acting director-general of BelGee.
He also said the Belt and Road Initiative will harness synergies of China and Belarus and will expand the market for both countries.