Quechen Silicon Chemical narrows down its list of potential European sites to three finalists

Quechen Silicon Chemical narrows down its list of potential European sites to three finalists
27 October 2016 / Implantez, Générale, Energies, Eco-Industries
Fos-sur-Mer is in good standing

Quechen has announced the three countries still in the running to host its European plant. Fos-sur-Mer is in good standing on the extensive European map of industrial sites where the company could locate its site. After studying 28 industrial parks, from the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic Coast, on October 17, the Chinese company Quechen Silicon Chemical revealed the three most suitable regions it is still considering to build its first manufacturing unit in Europe: Rotterdam, the Ruhr and Fos-sur-Mer.

Last January, Quechen asked the French economic agency Provence Promotion to team up with the Port of Marseille-Fos and the French industrial firm Kem One to develop an attractive "plug & play" offer at Piicto (*), the new industrial platform at Fos-sur-Mer, while facilitating the terms opening of Quechen's facility in France. The stakes are high: a €200 million euro investment and 150 new jobs.

Wuxi, "Little Shanghai", has 6 million inhabitants and is undeniably one of the richest, most dynamic cities in China. It is also the hometown of Quechen Silicon Chemical, a group that, in barely 10 years, has grown to become the world's third-largest producer of silica, a component used to make high-end "green tires" that reduce fuel consumption.

After 11 months of prospecting, in early November, Quechen Silicon Chemical will announce the industrial region where it will build a silica production factory, a research center and the group's sales division for Europe.

Krefeld, Fos and Rotterdam make the short list

The last round of discussions has begun between Quechen and representatives of the three regions.
This is why the Aix-Marseille Provence metropolitan area sent its vice-president for business parks, Gérard Gazay, and the president of the Istres-Ouest Provence territorial council, François Bernardini, alongside Provence Promotion, the Port of Marseille-Fos, Kem One and Business France to meet with the company.

The two elected officials assured Que Weidong, the founding president of Quechen, that his company would receive concrete support from France's second-biggest urban area to ensure the success of its European plans.
The region has conducted preliminary studies for the future buildings on the 12-hectare lot and the prefect has implemented a technical task force.
These extraordinary efforts extended to the President of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, who stopped by the Quechen headquarters during a trade mission to China.

Marseille-Fos in pole position

Que Weidong and his staff said they now have a comprehensive vision of the Fos-sur-Mer offer that they had asked Provence Promotion to assemble. The general manager of Provence Promotion summed up the strengths of the offer, saying "Fos-sur-Mer is offering Quechen the most land to build all its future industrial and logistical units without space constraints. Quechen would also be able to use a private dock for its maritime traffic. The connectivity of the Port of Marseille-Fos is an exceptional asset for accessing the markets of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Five years ago, the status of French ports changed, making them more competitive and prompting the port and its industrial companies to launch the new circular economy platform, Piicto(*). Fos also has more available industrial water than the other regions in competition thanks to the Rhône. The proximity of the Kem One plant will encourage the sale of steam and intermediary goods used in the silica production process."

Plant to come online in early 2020

Quechen's European plant will begin operating in early 2020. This kind of project will require one year to complete the engineering studies and one year to build the plant and have it approved to produce tires. 
Mr. Que Weidong, the head of the mid-sized family company, stressed that its European subsidiary would become a part of the fabric of its host country by calling on local subcontractors, hiring regional staff and forging partnerships with universities in Aix-Marseille for R&D work.

Quechen Silicon Chemical has 500 employees and two factories in China, at Wuxi and Anhui. The company generates €100 million in annual sales and produces 250,000 tons of silica per year.

(*) Caban-Tonkin Industrial and Innovation Platform.