Hong Kong paper maker Lee and Man Paper has announced that it is opening a new HK$5.1- billion production plant in Malaysia as it looks to meet China’s increasing demand for paper.
It is also looking to build on its growing presence in Southeast Asia.
The new factory in Sepang will allow Lee and Man Paper to expand its capabilities in high-grade packaging paper, and at full production, the plant will be able to produce 700,000 tonnes of paper and 550,000 tonnes of pulp.
Lee and Man chief executive Edmond Lee said: “Lee and Man Paper has been looking to boost our developmental scale and diversify the paper and pulp business overseas. We see Malaysia as a competitive location for export to China.”
In line with the company’s support for environmental conservation, the factory will be equipped with facilities like wastewater and solid waste treatment systems, which will reduce emissions, and will also only produce recycled pulp.
When complete, the factory is expected to create about 1,200 jobs, an annual trade surplus of HK$2.1- billion and contribute a tax revenue of HK$143 million.
This is Lee and Man Paper’s second foray outside of China, having built a production plant in Vietnam in 2007. Both builds are part of the company’s plan to globalise and spread its advocacy for an environmentally sustainable industry.
The chief executive added: “We plan to build a green environmental protection enterprise, by relying on our decades of experience in paper production management and advanced environmental control technology.”
He said that the expansion into Southeast Asia will allow the company to keep up with the growing domestic demand in China for packaging paper and corrugated boards, which has increased due to the rise of the e-commerce industry.
According to the paper company, it is estimated that China will consume 331 million tonnes of paper by 2035, up from 97 million tonnes in 2010, with the demand in the pulp and paper sector expected to grow at an annual rate of 3% in the next five years.
The pulp and paper sector has also been identified by the Malaysian government as one of the key priority areas for investment, with the country’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad welcoming investment in the paper industry as he encouraged Chinese businesses to expand into the country.