Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Arkansas Business Incentives Draw Chinese Technology Group

August 1, 2017

Arkansas Economic Development Commission brings Shandong Ruyi to Arkansas Shandong Ruyi Technology Group, a privately held textile manufacturer based in China, announced that it will invest $410 million in the former Sanyo manufacturing facility in Forrest City, where Arkansas cotton will be spun into yarn for textile use. The decision will have a significant impact on economic development in Arkansas for both cotton farmers and the surrounding communities, as the facility will create up to 800 new jobs. The new textile plant will be the company’s first expansion in North America. 

When the company determined it was the right time to move manufacturing to the U.S., they had to decide which state would be the best place to open a facility. The Ruyi Group was looking to “follow the cotton,” which meant taking a close look at the states that are major producers of cotton. 

“We engaged professional advisors: commercial advisors, legal advisors, and big accounting firms. We tried hard to source their recommendations and which states would be the ideal destination for Ruyi’s first investment. And we got various answers.

And Arkansas was not actually on the top of the recommendation, to be honest,” said Jane Liu, legal advisor to Ruyi Group. 

The Ruyi Group, though they had reached out with various queries to different states, were not satisfied with the speed of the responses they were receiving. “Anyways, we are not fully convinced or we are not very comfortable with the information [from different states] made available to us,” Liu said. 

The company ultimately chose Arkansas, because they were impressed with the responsiveness and tenacity of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s executive director and his team.

“So while we came to Arkansas, we can feel the difference among the limited options. The people there, they are really committed to the project of attracting foreign investors in terms of creating new opportunities for the local community. And we spent…I still remember, we spent one and a half days, 36 hours, in Little Rock and West Memphis and AEDC and this team, they gave us very intensive agenda numerous meetings, and they gave us a recommendation of five sites.” 

AEDC’s Deputy Director Danny Games remembers the visit as being an exercise in building trust and comfort, that the [Ruyi Group] knew the commission had their best interests in mind. 

“In less than a month, … they were back here. Jane was here, and then engineers were back here. So, they very rapidly began their due diligence in terms of the engineering on the building and measurements, and where would equipment be placed, and what lines could be put into place,” Games said. 

Shandong Ruyi is one of many world-class international companies that have decided to locate operations in Arkansas. Two other companies from Asia, Sun Paper and Tianyuan Garment Company, recently began operations in the state and more are sure to follow. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission continues to work with companies all over the world, offering business grants and incentives to bring their operations to Arkansas. Ruyi Group is able to take advantage of several incentives including participation in the Create Rebate and Tax Back programs. 

Ruyi plans to process more than 200,000 tons of Arkansas cotton each year at the Forrest City plant. Arkansas is the fifth largest cotton producer in the United States, producing more than 840 thousand bales in 2016. Production at the new facility is set to begin by mid-2018. 

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