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Mayor says 5 Chinese companies interested in coming to North Las Vegas

Following a 10-day, five-city tour through China, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee on Monday said he met with executives from five manufacturing companies that are considering launching operations in the city.

Lee also said he met with one of the top executives with Faraday Future to “reaffirm” the Chinese electric-car company’s commitment to build a $1 billion factory at the Apex Industrial Complex.

“I want to attract businesses that will diversify the economies of families living in North Las Vegas,” Lee said.

“There are lots of jobs in gaming and tourism in Southern Nevada, but I don’t want us to be reliant on one industry,” Lee said. “I want to bring some manufacturing jobs where we can produce things that can be distributed throughout the country.”

Lee and North Las Vegas City Manager Qiong Liu joined city, county and state politicians from California to visit the Chinese cities Beijing, Taiyuan, Nanjing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen from July 31 to Aug. 9.

The trip was sponsored by the Sino-American Friendship Association, a nonprofit group working to strengthen ties between the United States and China. A city spokeswoman said Lee and Liu paid for travel expenses that were not covered by the association.

While in Beijing, Lee said he got reassurances from a high-ranking executive with Faraday Future that the company is on track with building a 3 million-square-foot plant just west of U.S. Highway 93 and Grand Valley Parkway.

Nevada lawmakers held a special session in 2015 to approve $215 million in tax incentives to attract Faraday to the state. The plant is expected to have 4,500 full-time employees, at least half of whom must be Nevada residents, as part of an agreement reached with the city.

The company has not publicly announced an opening date for the factory, or when cars would be manufactured.

“We had a good conversation about what they’re doing on their end and hitting timelines, and everything looks real good,” Lee said, declining to discuss specifics. “The conversation was more like a rekindling of a business relationship between two partners.”

Lee also declined to disclose which five Chinese companies have expressed an interest in possibly opening manufacturing or distribution centers in North Las Vegas.

“I can’t discuss it any further, but we’ll see if we can make a business opportunity here,” Lee said.

While addressing business and political leaders at the Great Hall of the People at Tiananmen Square in the capital city of Beijing, Lee boasted about the benefits of doing business with North Las Vegas. The speaking engagement was sponsored by LeEco, a leading financial backer for Faraday Future.

During his speech, Lee mentioned his goal of building 100 million square feet of new industrial office space in North Las Vegas, along with recent efforts to streamline permitting and nabbing large companies like Faraday, Hyperloop One and Bigelow Aerospace.

The mayor also said that North Las Vegas “will welcome three Fortune 500 companies to town over the next few months,” without providing further details. Fanatics Inc. said in July that it will be the first Fortune 500 company coming to North Las Vegas and plans to open a distribution center for sports merchandise by June 2017.

Contact Art Marroquin at amarroquin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0336. Find @AMarroquin_LV on Twitter.

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