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Chinese furniture maker to open Va. plant

MARION, Va. - Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's office has announced that a Chinese furniture manufacturer is investing $2.1 million in a new subsidiary here that will create 125 jobs.
     Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co. Ltd. is establishing a subsidiary called New Ridge LLC that will make furniture parts for the Chinese market and finished furniture for the European and U.S. markets. The company also will provide lumber for the Chinese market, the governor's office said.
     Virginia competed against Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia for the project, officials said.
The governor's office has been working with the company since April and approved a $250,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to help Smyth County land the project. In addition, the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission approved $450,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project.
     "This project is of utmost importance to the Commonwealth and to Smyth County, and successfully competing against three other states is a great testament to the opportunity the company sees in the state and region," McDonnell said in a statement. "The addition of New Ridge LLC and 125 new jobs is tremendous news for an area that is recovering economically, and the company is able to take advantage of an existing facility that is outfitted for furniture manufacturing and allows quick startup to production. We welcome New Ridge LLC as a great addition to our strong wood products industry cluster in southwest Virginia."
     Established in 1998 and headquartered in Liao Yang, China, Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co. Ltd. is a privately-held and family-owned company that makes solid wood bedroom furniture shipped to IKEA stores worldwide. It also is a major supplier to IKEA in the Asia-Pacific region.
     Company officials said that Virginia's pro-business environment combined with its "excellent infrastructure and strategic geographic location and health of its economy" were factors that led the company to choose Smyth County in southwest Virginia.
     "These favorable conditions plus the incentive programs presented us a compelling business case," said Zou Xiaohui, president & CEO of New Ridge. "Ultimately it is the support that we received from the local and state governments, our ongoing strong relationship with area suppliers and businesses, and especially the hospitality of the local communities, the skill and quality of the local labor force and the state's quality of life and education excellence that made us decide to put our U.S. roots in southwest Virginia."

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