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Parts maker celebrates opening of Detroit tech center

By CHANG JUN and ZHANG YUAN in Detroit, Michigan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-24 09:23

For Zhang Daocai, chairman of the Sanhua Holding Group, it was a "historic moment, a milestone."

The manufacturer of controls and components for the commercial and residential heating, ventilation and air conditioning and refrigeration industries, on Thursday announced the opening of its new North American automotive tech center in Detroit, Michigan.

Zhang flew to Detroit from his headquarters in Hangzhou, in the eastern province of Zhejiang, to celebrate with staff members, government officials and business partners what he called a crowning achievement for the company he started in 1984 with modest means.

"We chose Detroit to establish our first North American automative tech center because we want to access the talent pool and the latest innovation and technology, given the fact that the Big Three major US automotive companies-Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler-are all here," Zhang said.

Detroit is "undoubtedly" the top spot for many automotive industry players, he added.

"Besides, the majority of our clients in automobile-related air conditioning and thermal systems are here. We can respond to inquiries and the needs of our customers in a more timely manner."

The functions of the center are threefold: customer service, product testing and development, and research and innovation, said Stone Shi, general manager of Zhejiang Sanhua Automative Component Co Ltd.

"It will also support our market expansion in the Americas as well as [help us] cooperate and collaborate with our headquarters' research and development center in Hangzhou."

Sanhua entered the US market by selling products through a trade company in the 1990s, then expanded its American presence in 2002 by founding its US arm, Sanhua USA, to manage sales and distribution.

Sanhua US has around 200 employees. To date, it has paid $1.3 million in taxes to the US government.

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