World’s largest solar cell maker opens its first overseas plant in Kuching

Abang Johari (fourth from right) launches the gimmick to symbolise LONGi Kuching's official opening while Zhong (second right), Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (centre) who is also /Minister of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Minister of Utilities Datuk Sri Dr Stephen Rundi Utom (third left), Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian (left) and others look on.

KUCHING, April 16: The world’s largest and leading high-efficiency mono-crystalline solar cell and module manufacturer LONGi Green Energy Technology officially opened its first overseas production base at Sama Jaya High Tech Park here today.

LONGi Group chairman Zhong Baoshen said this was made possible thanks to the support of the Sarawak government under the leadership of its Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Zhong said that in 2015, the China-headquartered company initiated its overseas production capacity strategy. Under the strong support of the local authorities, the whole process of applying for approval at the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) and the Ministry of Industry and Entrepreneur Development (MIED) was very smooth and prompt, taking LONGi less than five weeks to get approval to start its business in Kuching.

LONGi (Kuching) Sdn Bhd (LONGi Kuching) was established in January 2016 and only started producing solar wafers in April that year, followed by silicon ingots in December later the same year.

In May 2017, it started producing cell modules and in December the same year it expanded its plant to what it is today.

Due to the continuous support from the state government, it didn’t take long for Longi Kuching to grow with its current production plant occupying 42 hectares of land with built-up space of 111,000 square metres. The warehouse occupies about 40,000 square metres which is almost the size of Kuching International Airport’s main terminal building, said Zhong.

LONGi Group chairman Zhong Baoshen

“More than 2,200 employees have been recruited, of which 99.9 per cent are Malaysians. For shipment, there are about 200 container imports and 150 container exports every month. This number is expected to add up exponentially in the second half of this year. LONGi Kuching currently exports far abroad to the US, Europe and Canada.

“The rapid business growth has led to a surge in the daily operations of Kuching’s seaport and increased the demand for local freight forwarding services. It has now one of the largest companies in Sama Jaya and will be a boon to the local economy.

“LONGi Group has successfully established a complete monocrystalline photovoltaic industrial chain manufacturing project in Kuching in a short period of two years. This milestone is inseparable from the support of the government. Once again our heartfelt appreciation to the state government of Sarawak,” he said during the official opening ceremony for LONGi Kuching this morning.

“As a company that promotes green energy, LONGi Group strives to offer more economical, more reliable and higher efficient monocrystalline solar products while at the same time devotes itself to social responsibilities,” he added.

Zhong said since 1991 when Abang Johari was the Minister of Industrial Development, the ministry under him had created immense potential for the industrial and economic development of the state, especially concerning Sama Jaya High Tech Park, providing infrastructure and financial incentives to foreign investors.

He said Abang Johari’s presence at the opening ceremony today was proof of the state government’s continuous commitment towards technology advancement in this region as well as supporting LONGi in promoting green energy technology for a greener world.

Sharing about how LONGi Green Energy Technology started in China in 2000, Zhong said within 17 years it has become the largest monocrystalline silicon product manufacturer in the world.

He revealed that according to the PHOTON Consulting report on the competitiveness of global photovoltaic companies, LONGi is now in the first quartile by virtue of leading technical strength; its financial health score remains the highest and ranks as the most valuable among all global photovoltaic companies with current market value worth USD11 billion.

Zhong stated that the Morgan Stanley Research ranked LONGi among the top investment ideas for global photovoltaic industry players.

“In 2017, LONGi set a global solar industry record for Research and Development (R&D) expenditure, and also achieved a world record in PERC cell conversion (how much light is converted into electricity) efficiency of 23.6 per cent.

LONGi is now a leading high-efficiency monocrystalline manufacturer forerunning the technological transformation of the global solar energy industry, he said.