In March, 2017, the factory of Marco Polo in Chongqing was put into operation. The production line is the first of the main workshop “No. 1 of Phase I” of Chongqing Weimei Ceramics, with a daily output of 8,000 m2. The project, designed with 12 production lines, will deliver an annual output of 2 billion yuan when all being put into use.
In December, 2017, the construction of Dongpeng Chongqing Yongchuan (close to Rongchang District) Smart Home Innovation Park began, with a total investment of around 3 billion yuan.
In January, 2018, the marble tile production project of Gani settled down in Rongchang, Chongqing, with an estimated annual output 4 billion yuan..
In January, 2018, Hebei Huida Sanitary Ware Co., Ltd. settled down in Rongchang, mainly producing smart sanitary wares and prefabricated housing products. After completion, the project will deliver an estimated annual output of 2.5 billion yuan.
In January, 2018, Kito invested in Rongchang to produce foaming ceramic tiles. It is said that the project has an estimated output of more than 1 billion yuan.
With the home leading ceramic enterprises establishing presence in Rongchang and neighboring areas in Chongqing, Rongchang, a ceramic center with a history of more than 800 years, will brim with vigor and vitality. As such, a new, brand-featured architectural ceramics production center with Rongchang as the center has taken shape.
The Third Capacity Transfer Opportunity
If we look at the history of China’s ceramic industry, we can see that Foshan had seized the opportunities brought along by reform and opening up, and became the world ceramics production center. Gaoan embraced the opportunity of the capacity transfer of Foshan, and emerged as a leading ceramic production area in China. Under the pressure of environmental protection nationwide, the third capacity transfer opportunity appears, with Rongchang and Yongchuan jumping at the opportunity. This time, it is not a simple capacity transfer, and the new production area will be home to new, modern, and environmentally friendly factories.
It is learned that the factory of Marco Polo in Chongqing owns the most advanced production lines in China. Among which, one production line has a total length of more than 1,500 meters, yet manned with only 50 workers. All procedures are operated by robots, with workers only taking charge of machines.
Dongpeng Yongchuan Smart Home Innovation Park will be equipped with world-leading technical equipment and intelligent manufacturing system. It will be built as the first large, comprehensive, smart home industrial base for the production and logistics of ceramic tile, sanitary fittings, kitchen cabinet, bathroom cabinet, and hardware faucet. The industrial base will leverage on first-rate green equipment, and work to realize “zero emission” of industrial wastewater and reuse of production waste, seeking to build a green, ecological, garden-like factory.
Three Position Advantages
Currently, Marco Polo Group has four production bases in China, including two in Guangdong, one in Jiangxi, and the fourth in Rongchang, Chongqing catering to western China. Xie Yuezeng, Chairman of Chongqing Marco Polo, explained the reasons of choosing Rongchang to build a production base. The first is that Rongchang has a profound ceramic culture and abundant china clay. The second is the position and transport advantages.
According to historical documents, Anfu of Rongchang, Yixing of Jiangsu, and Shiwan of Foshan were billed as the three ceramics centers in China. Rongchang boasts a history of 800 years of pottery making. Within the territory of Anfu, Rongchang County, there is a china clay ore belt, with a length of 20-plus kms and a width of 2.5-4.5 kms. It has proved gross reserves of more than 110 million tons. With shallow depth and stable stratum, the china clay is easy to be tapped. The china clay is red or white, with fine texture and strong plasticity, and low moisture content and ignition loss rate. It is a quality material to produce various delicate ceramics.
What’s more, Rongchang belongs to Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Zone. So a factory built here will reach out to Chengdu, Chongqing, and even the whole southwestern China. Hainan Airlines plans to establish an airport base company in Rongchang, which will greatly enhance the cargo capability of Rongchang.
Making Southwestern China More Competitive
Presently, the competition among ceramic brands is quite fierce. It is a consensus among leading brands that, building factories in Rongchang, Chongqing will help reduce production and logistics costs, which will ensure price advantage for brands to engage in competition in end market.
Xie Yuezeng also said that, both Chongqing and Chengdu are important markets of Marco Polo Group. In the past, ceramic tiles selling in Chengdu and Chongqing were transported by train from Guangdong, entailing logistics cost of RMB 5 each tile. What’s more, the turnover time was as along as 7-15 days. With Rongchang sitting between Chengdu and Chongqing, a production base here will greatly reduce logistics costs and supply time.
Yet, despite the reduction of production and logistics costs by building factories here, high-end ceramic and sanitary ware brands have a long way to go in marketing. That is because, in the eyes of consumers, the best ceramic tiles come from Foshan. Some dealers in Chongqing said: “It will lower brand value if high-end brands of Foshan choose Chongqing as a production base. If they cannot do a good job in marketing, they will be attacked by competitors, and the competitiveness of dealers will be dented, making them follow the old routine of Jiajiang Xinzhongyuan Ceramics.”