Chinese battery manufacturer to bring $2.4B investment, up to 2,350 jobs to Big Rapids

BIG RAPIDS, MI — Electric vehicle battery maker Gotion was approved on Tuesday for an estimated $858 million in public incentives in a deal to build a plant in Big Rapids, a move expected to create up to 2,350 jobs and an investment of will generate $2.4 billion.

The incentives, including a 30-year Renaissance zoning designation valued at US$540 million, have been approved by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors. Renaissance Zones are designated areas where a company can operate with virtually no tax under the MEDC.

The terms of the public incentives require Gotion to meet its jobs and investment requirements by December 31, 2031.

The Company has selected a location for the project near US 131 and Big Rapids Airport.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting, MEDC CEO Quentin Messer Jr. said the project was the “largest economic development project so far north in Michigan’s great history.”

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“The project will serve increasing demand in the battery manufacturing industry and further position Michigan as a leader in battery manufacturing and innovation while expanding its vehicle assembly capabilities,” he said.

Gotion is the Silicon Valley-based subsidiary of Gotion High-tech Co., a company established in 1998 and based in Hefei, China. The company plans to build two 550,000-square-foot manufacturing facilities, along with an “electrical substation, wastewater treatment plant, test center, warehouse and other supporting facilities,” according to MEDC.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon has opposed the project, using public dollars to lure the company to Michigan.

When asked Tuesday about the merits of government incentives for a Chinese-owned company, Messer said, “Gotion was planning to invest in the US,” and it made sense that Michigan would be bidding for those jobs.

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“If they want to invest in the US and it’s legal under federal and state law to do so, then my question is that Michigan should be able to compete aggressively to win this business,” he said. “And we did. And we’re proud of that, because Michiganders deserve to have opportunities in the sector they built.”

He added, “They wanted to invest in the US — why not Michigan.”

The Right Place, a Grand Rapids-based economic development group, supported the project.

“The Right Place is honored to have played a role in bringing this transformational project to the Big Rapids area,” said Brent Case, the group’s vice president of business attraction, in a statement. “The location and community have been prepared for an opportunity like this to take advantage of Ferris State University’s infrastructure, locally educated talent pool and excellent resources. We are on track to position the region at the center of West Michigan’s growing mobility and electric vehicle sector.”

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The average hourly wage for the new jobs is expected to be $29.42, according to MEDC. The Company intends to work with Ferris State University to find skilled workers for the facility.

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