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Hisense Atlantis plant marks production milestone


     HISENSE South Africa has produced more than a million television sets and fridges at its Atlantis manufacturing plant since it opened four years ago, boosted by strong local demand and export growth.

    The global electronics firm announced the milestone as the one-millionth television set and the one-millionth fridge rolled off the production line on Monday, which also marked the fourth anniversary of its operation in Atlantis.

    Hisense has been in South Africa since 1996, making this year the brand's 21st birthday in this country.

    The firm said the production milestones were the result of commitment, dedication and hard work, which helped to grow the 27 000m2 high-tech manufacturing facility, situated in the Atlantis Industrial Park.

    The Hisense manufacturing facility employs over 500 people on a full-time basis, while training and social upliftment projects contribute to the well-being of 2 000 people in Atlantis. This provides a much-needed boost to the community, where poverty and social problems are rife.

    Albert Li, the head of manufacturing at Hisense South Africa, said the achievement could be attributed to staff commitment.

    "To be able to celebrate not only the production of a million television units, but also one million fridges, is a rare occasion indeed. It speaks of the dedication that all our loyal staff members have, not just towards the brand, but also to a job well done."

    The facility produces 1 500 Hisense televisions and 1 200 fridges during an eighthour shift, which, on average, equates to an output of 22 seconds per fridge and 20 seconds per television. This capacity can be scaled up in periods of high demand. Jessie Ma, the head of export at Hisense South Africa, said that, with the demand for Hisense televisions and fridges making the brand among the top three locally, the capabilities of the Atlantis plant were much needed.

    Ma said the plant not only supplied the South African market, but products were also exported to 13 other African countries, including Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Lesotho.

    "Hisense's export strategy has been a success, as sales have grown from $5 million (about R65m) in 2014 to $29m (about R377m) in 2016."

    Hisense South Africa's total local sales amounted to $224m last year, an increase of 29.35% from 2015.

The firm plans to export to more African countries, and with the increasing demand for Hisense products in the local market, the Hisense Atlantis factory is set to celebrate its next millionth unit milestone in the years ahead.

    Li said the volatility of the rand/dollar exchange rate was a big challenge facing the manufacturing sector.

    "This has been the single-most challenging factor to deal with, since so much planning is dependent on a stable exchange rate.

    "While there are other local challenging factors at play, the management team have put in place the necessary strategies to deal with it. To date, the stability at the facility has been a major success story for Hisense." –

(article from Cape Argus on 7 June, 2017, by Joseph Booysen)

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