Chinese tire maker to open plants, create hundreds of jobs near Rocky Mount

Posted December 19, 2017 2:41 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT

— A Chinese tire manufacturer plans to open its first U.S. plants in Edgecombe County, creating 800 jobs, officials said Tuesday.

Triangle Tyre Co. Ltd. plans to invest nearly $580 million in the plants, which will be built on the so-called Kingsboro mega-site, a 1,500-acre assemblage off U.S. Highway 64 east of Rocky Mount. North Carolina created four mega-sites in recent years in an effort to bring large manufacturing operations to the state.

"Instead of shipping jobs overseas, I think it's important to bring overseas jobs back to North Carolina," Gov. Roy Cooper said during a ceremony at Edgecombe Community College to announce the project.

One plant will make tires for passenger vehicles, and a second will produce commercial vehicle tires. Together, they are projected to contribute more than $2.4 billion to North Carolina’s economy.

"Triangle Tyre strongly believes that the project will blossom with beautiful flowers and bear the most abundant fruits in the U.S., a developed nation on wheels," Ding Yuhua, chairman of Triangle Group and Triangle Tyre, said in a statement. "We will give back the fruits to the people of North Carolina with our utmost sincerity."

The first plant is expected to start operating in 2019, and the second in 2021. By the time both plants are at full capacity in 2023, company officials said, they will produce 6 million tires annually.

The average salary for the new jobs will be $56,450, plus benefits, almost double Edgecombe County's average wage of $32,642.

Edgecombe County's unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in October, the second-highest rate in North Carolina. The state jobless rate was 4.1 percent in October.

"It will be nice for people who are working to have options," Tarboro resident Francis Opperman said. "I know people that drive every day to Raleigh, there and back, to be employed."

The county has agreed to provide up to $85 million in performance-based tax incentives to Triangle Tyre, including property tax rebates. Meanwhile, the state will kick in about $65 million in incentives, including a Job Development Investment Grant of up to $20.1 million in withholding tax rebates over 12 years and a $16 million grant from the One North Carolina Fund. Both awards are contingent on the company meeting annual hiring and investment targets.

Triangle Tyre was founded in 1976 and is headquartered in the Shandong Province of China. It makes more than 22 million tires a year for more than 5,000 specifications, including commercial tires, passenger tires, off-road tires and radius jumbo tires.