RICHMOND, VA - Chinese furniture manufacturer and IKEA supplier Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co. Ltd. will invest $2.1 million to establish its first U.S. subsidiary, New Ridge LLC, in Smyth County, VA.The new venture will create 125 jobs in the area.

New Ridge will manufacture furniture components for the Chinese market, and finished furniture for European and U.S. customers. The company said it also plans to expand into lumber production and export to China.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell made the announcement Nov. 22. The governor's office said it had been working on this since April, beating out Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia 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," Gov. 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."

Added said Jim Cheng, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade, "In addition to creating new jobs and repurposing a vacant facility, the company will also use Virginia timber to manufacture its furniture components. We are pleased New Ridge can take advantage of the region's plentiful natural resources as it expands into the U.S. market."

Established in 1998 and headquartered in Liao Yang, China, the privately-held, family-owned Liaoyang Ningfeng Woodenware Co. has more than 550 employees, along with operations in Russia and locations in Northeast China. Liaoyang is a global strategic supplier to IKEA in Asia Pacific and manufactures solid wood bathroom furniture that is shipped to IKEA stores in worldwide.

New Ridge President & CEO ZOU, Xiaohui said Virginia's favorable conditions and incentive programs factored in the decision. The governor's office approved a $250,000 grant from the Governor's Opportunity Fund to help Smyth County secure the project. A $450,000 grant was also approved by the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission. New Ridge also is eligible to receive benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

This is the second Chinese manufacturer in recent months to announce plans to open a U.S. plant.  In October, Zeyuan Flooring International Corp. announced it will open its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Danville, VA, which is expected to create 100 jobs over three years.

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