UPDATE: Dothan Leaders Visit Chinese Textile Factory
JIANLI COUNTY, China - Dothan's relationship with entrepreneurs in China has advanced well past the pleasantries stage and moved to serious discussions of industry expansion and job creation.
In June, the SoZo Group hosted a tour of Dothan and Southeast Alabama for top management from the largest textile conglomerate in China. The Chinese were impressed with Dothan and the region. They liked the officials, business leaders and farmers they met. The availability of cotton was another key factor. The dedication and willingness of Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz and other local leaders and the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce to work with them and help in anyway to make their expansion into the U.S. successful pushed Dothan to the top of their list of potential cities.
The Dothan delegation on the SoZo Group's Fall 2014 Dothan-China Tour saw the enormity of this textile conglomerate's footprint in the textile industry on Sunday. The delegation toured a factory that spanned more than five football fields. It wasn't just the size that amazed the delegation, but the efficiency due to automation used at the factory.
"We were able to observe several Chinese companies in action and came away impressed with their technological and innovative plans," said Dean Mitchell, director of external affairs for the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce. "As we continue to impress upon them the opportunities that Dothan and the Wiregrass can provide to Chinese investors, we are confident that creating new jobs and helping our local businesses expand is a mutually beneficial goal."
From towels to blankets to kitchen towels and accessories, this factory makes products for Target, Wal-Mart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Khol's and other big box retailers. The Dothan delegation talked how impressed they were with the cleanliness of the factory and the quality of the products.
A big key in attracting textile companies like this one is training, and Vincent P. Vincent of Wallace Community College was taking notes and asking questions about training needs. Stan Jones, president of Dothan Warehouse, was investigating the logistic needs.
The Dothan delegation consists of members who can answer questions and do the research back home to show that Dothan can meet their needs.
"Creating jobs and building better communities is a goal that Chinese cities and towns share with us," Mitchell said. "It's all about making the future brighter and better - giving people the opportunity to improve their lives."
SoZo Group Executive Director Ken Tuck said the Dothan delegation is working non-stop on this tour.
"Creating jobs is one of the main goals of the SoZo Group, and the Dothan delegation is doing a great job working to bring jobs home," Tuck said. "This is not an easy trip. We're visiting eight cities in 12 days, so after the beginning of the tour we've been in a different city every day. This group of guys are working hard and enduring the grueling schedule to bring jobs home. I applaud them."
SoZo Group is a Hong Kong-based corporate and economic development advisory company with its U.S. headquarters in Dothan, Ala. For more information, visit www.sozonet.com.
Copyright © 2014 Gray MidAmerica TV Interactive Media, LLC.