Fuyao launches 3 glass production lines

The largest auto glass maker in China, the Fuyao Glass Industry Group, is celebrating the launch of three new float glass production lines, which is expected to help ease the nation's lack of production technology of float glass, a kind of glass that is perfectly flat and clear - a major raw material for producing automobile glass.

Fuyao has spent 1.7 billion yuan (US$205.4 million) on building the lines, installed with the world's most advanced float glass equipment and technology. Each will be able to melt 600 tons of high-quality float glass daily.

Another 300 million yuan (US$36.25 million) has been spent by Fuyao on deep-processing the float glass produced.

All three lines are operational and are predicted to generate 500,000 tons of float glass a year.

Meanwhile, according to a 2-billion-yuan (US$241.64 million) agreement signed on Friday between Fuyao and Hainan provincial government, the company will build five new float glass production lines in Chengmai County in South China's Hainan Province.

The first three lines will start construction in about three months' time and all five are expected to be launched in 2007, according to Cho Tak-wong, Fuyao's chairman and CEO.

As the largest project in Hainan this year, the production lines will be able to fill the country's gap in several auto glass production technologies such as on-line coating glass production, Cho said.

"Fuyao's current achievement in float glass production marks a new beginning in China's automobile glass manufacturing industry that has managed the world's top technologies, which also ends the nation's dependence on importing float glass," said Cho.

Previously, 70 per cent of the country's high-quality float glass was imported from abroad. The rest is bought from some domestic joint venture enterprises.

Cho added that Fuyao's co-operation with the world's industry leader, US-based Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG), has resulted in a firm technological base for Fuyao's development.

Founded in 1987, Fuyao has been supplying auto glass to a number of car-makers such as Audi, GM, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Isuzu since 2003.

Having been ranked the sixth-largest auto glass maker in the world, Fuyao has been occupying 50 per cent of the market share in the domestic OEM market and 10 per cent of the automobile glass market in the United States.

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