YANTAI, China — Shandong Linglong Tire Co. Ltd. is scouting potential locations in Europe for a tire plant and has attracted interest from Czech Republic, Belgium and most recently Slovak Republic.
Dusan Bella and Miroslav Tomo, Slovak ambassador to China and economic consul, respectively, visited Linglong facilities May 18 and later briefed Linglong officials on taxation, investment and labor policies in relation to building a factory in the country, according to Linglong.
The Slovak officials met with Liu Zhancun and Li Wei, vice president and deputy general manager of Linglong, respectively.
The diplomats, it said, explained that the Slovakian government would "provide accurate and reliable information and policy to help Linglong build its second overseas manufacturing base…in Slovakia."
Linglong Tire is pursuing a "3+3" strategy, which envisions three plants in China and three based overseas — including one possibly in the Americas — with combined annual capacity of 80 million tires.
The company opened its first overseas plant in 2014, a passenger tire factory in Chonburi, Thailand. It added capacity for truck/bus tires in 2015 and earlier this year disclosed plans to add capacity for 800,000 radial truck tires, 2 million radial passenger tires and 400,000 bias-ply tires.
The company went on to say that the location of its second overseas base "has aroused widespread concern in many European countries. Currently, Czech, Slovakia, Belgium and other countries have extended an olive branch to Linglong Tire."
Other countries shortlisted by Linglong include Hungary and Poland, the Chinese tire maker said in conjunction with a visit by Czech President Milos Zeman with Linglong officials May 12 in Beijing.
Slovakia was in the running in 2014 to secure a $500-plus million tire-plant investment by Apollo Tyres Ltd. but lost out to Hungary due to issues with the infrastructure and industrial support facilities in the proposed location.
Linglong is considered the third largest Chinese tire maker and No. 20 worldwide, based on 2015 sales of $1.34 billion. It's represented in the U.S. by Linglong Americas Inc. in Medina, Ohio.