Biggest-ever Chinese greenfield investment underway in Provence

Biggest-ever Chinese greenfield investment underway in Provence
10 January 2018 / doing business in provence, Eco-industries, invest in provence, Logistics, Start your business

The world’s 3rd-largest manufacturer of silica for “green” tires’ belief in the region’s attractiveness for the siting of its first chemicals plant in Europe.

After many months of negotiations, Quechen Silicon Chemical has begun the final phase of its project to locate a production unit in Provence. The signing of a letter of intent with the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille-Fos, Kem One and Provence Promotion reiterates the world’s 3rd-largest manufacturer of silica for “green” tires’ belief in the region’s attractiveness for the siting of its first chemicals plant in Europe. The region’s assets in terms of resources and infrastructure, plus the active engagement of all the local institutional and industrial stakeholders, all played a vital role. After Weichai Power, Wiko, Petro-China and, more recently, MIF68, Chinese investors have thus renewed their faith in the region, with Quechen Silicon Chemical’s choice to focus solely on the PIICTO port and industrial site at Fos-sur-Mer the latest addition. The anticipated move will translate into 130 direct jobs and create a significant potential for R&D as part of a shared vision for the environment.

Tuesday January 9th, 2018, saw the signing in Beijing by one of China’s largest industrial groups of a letter of intent for a €105-M investment in the Aix-Marseille Provence Metropolitan Area in France. After two years reviewing several potential location sites in Europe, Quechen Silicon Chemical has decided to focus its entire attention solely on Fos-sur-Mer in the South of France.

The Port of Marseille-Fos has emerged as offering the best advantages for the siting of its factory to produce 90,000 t/yr. of high-dispersion silica (HDS), plus associated raw materials. As France’s largest industrial port, it has all the assets to fulfil the company’s requirements: a comprehensive and efficient logistics complex combined with facilities adapted to the global supplier’s international strategy.

The construction project for what will be one of the largest HDS production units in the world would create 130 direct jobs locally and fulfil the growing needs of European “green” tire manufacturers for materials.

Quechen Silicon Chemical, the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille and Kem One are due to review the final details of the project together, the ultimate step in sealing the location agreement.

HDS – A prospect for sustainable development

In the fields of chemicals and advanced materials, one of the major issues facing manufacturers is contributing to the development of products and materials that are more and more environmentally-friendly. High-dispersion silica is one of these innovative materials. It is one of the ingredients of the rubber compound used in the manufacture of so-called “green” tires, which reduce rolling resistance and thus fuel consumption, while enhancing a vehicle’s safety performance.

Quechen Silicon Chemical, which over the past dozen or so years has become one of the world’s leading silica producers, is about to become a partner of choice for the PIICTO Platform, whose main purpose is to promote a circular economy within the Marseille-Fos port and industrial zone. Taking into account the environment within the port zone is in itself an asset in the construction of a common project.

The site also offers considerable advantages in terms of cost savings and R&D collaboration. By focusing on sharing materials and energy streams, economic vision and environmental vision could converge in a sustainable manner.