Chinese automaker Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC) on Tuesday rolled the first car off production line in its South African plant near the car export hub of Port Elizabeth.
The plant is a joint venture between BAIC and South Africa's state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), with planned investment of $800 million and expectation to build 50,000 cars annually.
At the ceremony to celebrate the event, Xu Heyi, chairman of BAIC, described the relationship between South Africa and China as one of "golden cooperation," which ensures the realization of prosperity through BRICS cooperation.
"We should make full use of our opportunities ahead and comparative advantages to reach a win-win situation," said Xu.
"By working together, our countries are demonstrating the value that closer ties and greater cooperation can deliver," said IDC Chairperson Busi Mabuza.
The plant, located in the Coega Special Economic Zone, was launched in August 2016 and is expected to have the capacity of assembly, painting and welding by the end of 2019.
The plant is also regarded a miniature of cooperation between China and South Africa in recent years.
The relations between China and South Africa have become an exemplary model for South-South cooperation, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa Lin Songtian said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Lin said China has been South Africa's largest trading partner for nine straight years, and South Africa is also China's largest trading partner in Africa. Bilateral trade amounted to over $39 billion in 2017, more than 26 times the value back in 1998.