This week I am very excited to be forging new links between Kingston and China. Over the last few days I have been travelling with a Canadian delegation to visit several of Feihe International’s facilities in preparation for the company’s launch here in Kingston. Our trip to date has taken us from Beijing, to Qiqihar and to Harbin in Heilongjang province in Northeast China.
Last month Feihe representatives were in Kingston to announce plans to locate their North American base of operations in our city with the construction of a 300,000 square foot infant formula processing and research facility. This new operation represents a $225 million investment that will create 200-250 manufacturing and research jobs and over 1,000 more indirect jobs in the local economy.
This week I am in China to strengthen the city’s relationship with Feihe and to meet with the company’s chairman, trade commissioners and companies within Feihe’s existing supply chain. I am also touring their existing facilities to better understand the opportunities for existing Kingston based companies to partner with Feihe, which will create even more economic benefits for our city and the surrounding region. Later this week I will also be heading to one of Feihe’s goat farms, to understand the potential expansion in goat farming that we could see in Eastern Ontario to supply Feihe with goat milk for their infant formula processing.
The larger vision around this week’s trip is to build connections between Kingston and China. Members of our local Chinese community were a key part of Team Kingston’s approach to showcasing why our city was the right location for Feihe. I firmly believe there are now opportunities to reach out to other Chinese firms looking to invest in North America, and to show them why Kingston would be a great choice for them as well.
It’s been an exciting week so far, and I’m looking forward to sharing more information about our new partnership with Feihe, and opportunities for partnerships with China when I get back to Kingston.