ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates—Chinese and UAE investors have broken ground at an industrial park near Abu Dhabi on a car and truck tire plant that's slated to start production by the fourth quarter of 2020.
The project, known as the Roadbot Tire Project KIZAD, is valued at $614 million and envisions a 3 million-sq.-ft. factory capable of producing up to 10 million passenger and 1 million truck/bus radials by 2022, according to information provided by Abu Dhabi Ports.
Passenger tire initially will be 3 million units a year.
The Chinese partner is identified as "Roadbot," but Abu Dhabi Ports does not provide any background on the company other than to describe it as a Chinese tire manufacturer. The Roadbot project was launched last year during a visit of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping to the UAE.
The company's chairperson, Zhang Yingzi, attended the ground-breaking ceremony this week in Abu Dhabi's KIZAD China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone.
Roadbot becomes the first Chinese firm to set up in the KIZAD Zone since Jiangsu Provincial Overseas Cooperation & Investment Co. (JOCIC) and Abu Dhabi Ports signed a 50-year development agreement in 2017.
"The Roadbot Abu Dhabi tire project is the result of close cooperation between the UAE and Chinese governments," Zhang said. "It is an important part of the 'Belt and Road Initiative' and a crystallization of multiculturalism, based on the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration."
According to Abu Dhabi Ports, the factory will be an "intelligent, fully automated, and eco-friendly" plant that will include "alpine waterfalls and ecological gardens in the atrium, creating an inviting and encouraging environment for employees."
UAE Minister of State Sultan Al Jaber said the Roadbot tire factory will make an "important contribution to the UAE's manufacturing base as part of our leadership's longstanding strategy to diversify our economy.
"Today's groundbreaking also demonstrates the increasingly close ties between the UAE and China, and reinforces the UAE's role as a key partner in China's Belt and Road initiative," Jaber said.
"This inauguration marks another significant step towards cementing Abu Dhabi's role as a hub for global trade and connectivity, leveraging the UAE's unique position as a trading link between East and West and supporting the leadership's vision to enhance the UAE's position as a highly attractive destination for investment in today's competitive business environment."