Chinese appliance and electronics manufacturer Hisense has opened its third factory for refrigeration appliances in Valjevo, a city in western Serbia that lies 91km south-west of capital Belgrade.

The fridge factory, named Valjevo 3, cost Hisense €45m (349.91m yuan) and will produce refrigerators under the Hisense, Gorenje and Asko brands to meet demand from European markets. Planned production at the new facility will reach 750,000 appliances annually, with the total annual output across all three Gorenje Valjevo facilities hitting 1.7 million by 2025.

Hanson Han, CEO of Hisense Europe, commented: “This factory represents a significant investment and is a testament to our unwavering commitment to this community, this country and the European market.

“Beyond our business endeavours, we believe in giving back to the community that has embraced us and made us feel at home. Recognising our social responsibility, we have made substantial donations to improve the quality of life for the people of this region.”

Serbia’s Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, said the opening of Valjevo 3 will bring Hisense Group’s total number of workers in Serbia to 3,000.

“I am endlessly grateful to the Hisense Group for showing great respect and trust in the Republic of Serbia in this way, but above in all our people – their quality, their knowledge, their value and discipline, their potential to create common added value that we will export from here in Valjevo throughout Europe and throughout the world,” she added.

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By GlobalData

Serbia has remained an increasingly popular foreign direct investment (FDI) destination for companies, experiencing a 10.3% increase in inbound FDI in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Inward project numbers grew by 5% in 2021, with investments from multinationals such as Japan’s Panasonic and Canada’s Magna International.

Instead of following in Europe’s more prudent footsteps and proceeding with caution against China, Belgrade has lately strengthened its ties with Beijing, especially in the security sector.

In June this year, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that the country has become blanketed in Chinese-made surveillance cameras, with Serbian cities, towns and villages having purchased cameras without explaining how the systems are regulated or addressing concerns about their facial-recognition capabilities.

Hisense Europe is the European arm of the Hisense Group and owns production facilities in Serbia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, along with development centres in Sweden, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, and 27 sales companies.