SOUTH AFRICA – Chinese multinational Hisense will start manufacturing cell phones in South Africa, reported ITWeb.

Deputy Minister in the Presidency Thembi Siweya has welcomed the impact the Hisense factory in Atlantis, Western Cape has had on jobs, saying further investments will improve the lives of ordinary South Africans.

 The Deputy Minister said this as the Chinese electronics giant revealed that there are talks at the company to expand its operations in South Africa to make cell phones.

This would complement their existing fridge and TV manufacturing lines.

Siweya said she was happy that the plant was employing locals and helping the government meet the objectives of creating jobs as envisaged in the National Development Plan.

She said this shortly after visiting the Hisense factory as part of Brand South Africa’s pre-World Economic Forum media tour.

 “I am also happy that you have an internal programme of transferring skills,” she said, adding that as and when investment comes, skills will be transferred to South Africans.

Hisense entered the South African market in 1996. The company is based in Midrand, Gauteng and in Century City, Cape Town.

In June 2013, Hisense launched an $23.7 million state-of-the-art consumer electronics and home appliance manufacturing facility in the Atlantis industrial park, which is capable of producing 400 000 refrigerators and televisions per annum.

Mark Dammert, a human capital development manager at Hisense, said the factory currently employs between 600 and 700 people, and that 98% of the workforce are Atlantis locals.

“What we are looking at in the future is further expansion as there are also talks around [the fact that] we want to start manufacturing cell phones in South Africa… With that will come additional job creation for the people,” he said.

The Brand SA pre-World Economic Forum media tour was attended by local and international media, as well as Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu and MEC for Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier.

Minister Jackson Mthembu said South Africa was open for business and that government was working tirelessly to address investor concerns such as crime, among others.