ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Staff file photo / Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp goes on a tour of GE Appliances' Roper plant led by Tony Gabbert, assembly operations director, last year in LaFayette.

This story was updated at 5:12 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, with more information.

A Chinese flooring manufacturer on Wednesday became the third such company from the Asian powerhouse to unveil plans for a new plant in Northwest Georgia in the last six months.

Huali Floors, which makes luxury vinyl tiles, stone plastic composite, and wood plastic composite flooring, will set up its U.S. headquarters and a manufacturing facility in Murray County and create at least 315 jobs, according to Gov. Brian Kemp.

Huali Floors will invest more than $27 million in an existing facility, the governor said.

"It's a testament to Georgia's logistics network and readily available workforce when an innovative company like Huali Floors chooses Georgia to establish their first U.S. manufacturing operation," he said.

Established in Taizhou, Jiangsu Province in 2002, Huali currently utilizes the Port of Savannah and plans to use the Appalachian Regional Port in Murray County, according to the state.

Kemp Harr, publisher of Floor Focus Magazine, said that rigid core luxury vinyl tile is the fastest growing category in the industry.

"There's an insatiable demand for this product," he said, adding he's not surprised more companies are coming to the U.S. to produce it. "There's not enough capacity in the world to satisfy demand."

Also, tariffs may be an issue, Harr said. While luxury vinyl tile has an exception to recent tariffs on Chinese imported goods, some fear the levy may later go on the product, he said.

In February, Novalis Innovative Flooring of Hong Kong, a vinyl flooring maker, announced it's putting its first U.S. plant in Dalton, where the company already has a North American headquarters. That $30 million project will create 120 jobs.

In December 2019, Nanjing-based GreenView Floors International revealed plans for a $26 million vinyl flooring plant in Adairsville where it will hire 238 people.

Harr said the Chinese have perfected manufacture of luxury vinyl tile at a competitive price.

He said Northwest Georgia is well located for flooring companies because trucking firms already have scheduled transportation runs linking the region throughout the U.S.

"It makes sense to start that load here and fill up a truck," Harr said.

Huali Floors employs more than 2,000 full-time workers and has revenues in excess of $360 million. Jobs at the new facility will include administration, manufacturing, and research and development positions. People interested in learning more about the project or employment opportunities can go to https://murraycountychamber.org/hfusa/.

Philip Yuan, president of Huali Group, said that the "strong flooring community that the Northwest Georgia area embodies was a determining factor in our commitment, and we want to be part of that spirit."

Steve Smith, chairman of the Murray County Industrial Development Authority, cited the partnership between the state and Industrial Development Authority Director Illya Copeland.

Greg Hogan, sole commissioner of Murray County, said that from the first visit with Huali, "there was a natural feel in the air that told me we would become home to their first U.S. facility."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT