Fuyao Glass launches new product line

China's largest auto glass manufacturer Fuyao Glass Industry Group Co Ltd launched a new float glass product line on Friday, which is expected to help ease the nation's dependence on importing float glass, a kind of glass that is perfectly flat and clear -- a major raw material for producing automobile glass.

Fuyao has invested a total of US$200 million to build three float glass production lines. The two other lines will become operational in August 2005, according to a senior official from the group.

Currently, 70 per cent of the country's high quality float glass is imported from abroad, the remainder is purchased from some domestic joint venture enterprises.

Installed with the world's most advanced float glass equipment and technology, each of the three lines will be able to melt 600 tons of high quality float glass daily. The annual production value generated by the three lines is estimated to reach 900 million yuan (US$108.74 million).

The products will be used as raw materials for Fuyao's own products, and the remainder will be deep processed for special types of float glass.

"The new lines will meet our increasing needs and solve the technological problems currently faced in the production of raw glass," said Cho Tak-wong, Fuyao's Chairman.

When all the three production lines are launched, the headquarters of Fuyao, established in Fuqing in East China's Fujian Province, will become a complete industrial base for producing float glass and processing auto glass, Cho said.

"Furthermore, the ability to produce raw glass by ourselves makes Fuyao more competent to grow into an international brand, which is our new goal," said Cho.

Operating a branch in Hong Kong and a subsidiary in the United States, Fuyao plans to upgrade the function of its five agencies in the world in order to improve the group's global service, according to Cho.

So far, Fuyao has been supplying auto glass to a number of foreign automobile makers such as GM, Ford and Mitsubishi.

Cho said Fuyao is currently negotiating with Volkswagen, Benz and BMW to explore new opportunities for co-operation.

Having won a close-to-zero rate in an anti-dumping case in United States in May, Fuyao is China's only auto glass maker that does not have anti-dumping taxes levied on its exports to the United States.

Founded in 1987, Fuyao is the leading Chinese firm in auto glass manufacturing, occupying 52 per cent of the market share in the domestic OEM (original equipment manufacturing) market and 25 per cent of the automotive market last year.

In 2003, Fuyao's recorded a revenue of 1.7 billion yuan (US$205.4 million).

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