One of China’s largest TV manufacturers has opened its European manufacturing HQ in Wales where it is planned to create 70 new jobs with support from the Welsh Government. The £1.6million investment by Tongfang (THTF) in its new assembly facility on Kenfig Industrial Estate, Port Talbot, was supported by £600,000 business finance from the Welsh Government, and is on target to employ seventy people by October this year. Official figures released yesterday by UKTI show that Wales attracted 79 foreign direct inward investment projects in 2013-14 – a record result in the past 24 years – creating and safeguarding 10,441 jobs. THTF is one of those inward investment projects. THTF is part of Tongfang Global, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, and has international manufacturing bases in the US, Malaysia and Shenyang where it has the largest TV manufacturing facility in Northern China employing 1200 people. The company produces flat panel TVs, digital TVs and LED backlight modules while its research and investment in flat panel televisions has resulted in the company gaining a significant presence in the world’s TV industry. Its Seiki brand is the second largest selling television in its sector within the US where it supplies Walmart and Amazon amongst others. First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “China is a major market with massive inward investment potential and a market Wales has been targeting diligently through business and cultural visits, trade missions, business links and trading agreements . I am delighted to welcome THTF to Wales and congratulate the company on its excellent progress to date. It’s good news to hear it is creating jobs well ahead of schedule and finding Wales a great location for its new base.” Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “THTF was considering another location in Europe for this investment so I am particularly pleased that support and funding from the Welsh Government helped secured the project for Wales. “The local skills base was another key factor in their decision to choose Wales. There are a number of former Orion employees in the area with skills and experience of working in consumer electronics so I’m pleased to hear that a number of these people are now working at THTF including some of the senior management. “ Philip Jones, Director, THTF UK , said: “Tongfang Global already supplies a number of key retailers in the UK from China and having this facility in Wales means we can offer our customers a much better service with shorter lead times. We have ambitious plans to grow the business and will initially target the UK retail market before supplying Europe although we received our first order from France this week.” The production lines were only installed at their facility in April and the company has already created 45 jobs, five of which are supported through the Welsh Government’s Skills Growth Wales programme. It plans to start manufacturing the next generation of 4K Ultra HD televisions in August to supply to UK retailers and will be the first TV manufacturer in the UK to build these advanced models. THTF has already gained the necessary industry accreditations, has signed up for Investors in people and rolling out a workforce development plan. It has also forged links with Gower College offering students practical work experience When Orion closed in 2010 Philip Jones and Simon Lucas who were administration manager and manufacturing manager respectively saw a niche in the market and opened Vision Electronics to provide aftersales service and repair to support overseas electronic manufacturers, including TongFang. Both have considerable experience in the sector and helped set up the new operation for TongFang and are now Directors of THTF UK.