Velenje – Representatives of the government and the Chinese-owned group Hisense Europe Electronics signed on Monday a contract under which the state will provide almost EUR 1 million in non-refundable funds for its TV production plant at the existing Gorenje operation in Velenje.
The contract representing 25% of the total value of the investment planned until the end of 2023 was signed by Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and Chao Liu, the director of the Hisense Europe Electronics plant in Slovenia.
Production of Hisense brand TVs for the European market was launched in January, and the plant currently employs around 700 people in three shifts and on four automated production lines. The Chinese owner invested EUR 7 million in the production facility.
The plan is to increase the annual output of the facility from two million and a half TVs (between 6,000 and 7,000 a day) in the first year to almost four million in the next two years. The plant is expected to employ 1,200 people by then.
According to Hisense Europe president Hanson Han, the incentive will have a positive impact on the operations of Hisense Europe Electronics, while it is also an important message from the state that Slovenia is an environment inclined to foreign investors.
“The grant … positively contributes to the development of the region by opening more than 700 new jobs,” Minister Počivalšek told the press on the occasion, noting that the state had also supported past projects in Gorenje.
With the new TV factory, Velenje, the Šalek Valley and Slovenia are gaining new experience, technologies and know-how in this hi-tech segment, the minister said, adding that he had always believed that Hisense acquiring Gorenje was a right move.
Počivalšek is also happy that Hisense has based its development office for Europe in Slovenia. “Through the just transition fund and the resilience fund we will also support other projects by Hisense that have been presented to us.”
The minister added that today’s signing of the contract was the first step in restructuring the region from a coal region to a high-tech region, and that it contained guarantees for job preservation in the long run.
In line with Hisense’s plan until 2025, annual turnover is to increase from EUR 2.5 billion to EUR 6.5 billion by then, and a large share of growth is planned to come from Europe, including from Slovenia, said Tomaž Korošec, the executive vice-president of production at Hisense Europe Electronics.