Meet the Chinese billionaire CEO who chose to open shop in Ohio
Americans in Moraine, Ohio are working again, thanks to an enormous new factory that opened last year. But the company that owns the operation isn’t local — or even American.
Ceo Dewang, the chairman of Fuyao — one of China’s largest autoglass companies — chose Moraine for the factory, an old General Motors plant that left almost 1,100 people without jobs when it closed in 2008.
“The most important thing that brought us here was the director of business development in Ohio,” Dewang said. “She visited me three times. Then she told me that she found a factory for me to see.”
Fuyao’s factory in Moraine is an interesting counterpoint in President Donald Trump’s narrative of jobs moving overseas. Because Chinese labor is now only 4% cheaper than U.S. labor, there’s been an influx of Chinese investment in the U.S. — from just over $2 billion in 2011 to nearly $55 billion last year.
For Moraine, that influx helped solve the city’s cash flow problems, like paving roads, after the General Motors factory closed. But Fuyao’s ownership has also caused safety issues at the plant; the company currently has 24 pending violations with the U.S. Department of Labor, although it’s appealed all of them.
VICE News spoke with Fuyao’s chairman and visited employees in Moraine, Ohio to discuss the company’s growing pains.