Zimbabwe: Sunny Yi Feng, Now a Regional Household Name

Norton — based Chinese firm, Sunny Yi Feng Tiles Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd, has expanded its market base into the region exporting between 60 percent and 70 percent of its tiles.

The company is producing over 40 000 pieces of cups and plates as well as 35 000 square metres of floor and wall tiles daily, according to officials.

The company's production lines are capable of producing both the high end market porcelain tiles and the ceramic for the mass market.

The 40 000 cups and plates are meant for the local market, while between up to 70 percent of the tiles are exported in the region with leading importers being South Africa, Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Madagascar and Botswana.

During Herald Finance and Business' tour of the US$120-manufacturing plant on Tuesday facilitated by the public relations manager Leo Wang, translator Linda Ye and public relations officer Albert Mukumba, it merged the company has capacity to produce over 600 000 square metres of roofing tiles a month.

However, it is yet to make full value of that capacity as they are still penetrating the market. Sunny Yi Feng (Pvt) Limited -- employs nearly 1 700 people in the manufacturing of floor tiles, roofing tiles, bricks, cement pipes, cups, plates, wooden pallets and cardboard boxes. Among the employees are 150 Chinese engineers and technicians on a skills transfer programme.

Government has identified the manufacturing sector as a key enabler in attaining an upper middle income economy by 2030 and has said will support companies into value addition and beneficiation of local resources.

The firm has also ventured into latest version of the roofing tiles that are lighter than the concrete version and they are durable, and proofed for both sound and heat. The company has potential to become a one stop shop facility, even supplying toiletries such as bathing tabs, sinks among others.

Sunny Yi Feng uses materials obtained locally, largely from Mazowe, Chegutu, Selous and Chakari and in some cases Mutoko areas.

"At least 99 percent of the raw materials are obtained locally save for a few components from South Africa such as paper to make packaging materials and zirconium silicate and bentolite from Mozambique.

"The company also employs unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled employees some who have amassed invaluable skills for themselves," said Mr Mukumba.

He said the company was involved in many corporate social responsibilities and has excellent working relations with community leadership in Norton and local legislator Mr Themba Mliswa.

"We have made some donations to many schools among them St Erick - where we supplied them with some soccer balls and jerseys, we have sponsored an organisation called Jedidha that specialises in prisoners rehabilitation and we have participated in many clean up campaigns to ensure our environment is clean. We feel we must participate in taking care of our environment," said Mr Mukumba.

The Chinese companies have become major players in manufacturing and construction sectors in Zimbabwe.

Many projects such as the commissioning of Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company (SZCC), the Victoria Falls International Airport expansion project, the Kariba South Hydro power station extension, the Hwange Power Plant, Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport expansion and the new Parliament building projects are tangible results from Government's "ease of doing business" reform programme.

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