Business

Chinese soap packaging for Portmore

BY JULIAN RICHARDSON Assistant Business Co-ordinator richardsonj@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 04, 2012    

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THE Chinese dealer of an emerging laundry detergent brand is investing millions of dollars in a new packaging plant in Portmore, St Catherine.

ADA Manufacturing Jamaica, which distributes China-made soap powder to the Jamaican market under the ADA brand, told the Jamaica Observer that the facility will create 50 to 100 jobs upon completion at the end of 2012.

"We are hoping to finish by the end of the year," said ADA proprietor Kwok Hung Chin. "We are happy because it will make more people get work."

Chin revealed that the plan is for the new facility -- located near the Portmore Informatics Park -- to primarily package soap powder, but said the company is exploring whether to use the facility for some of its other ADA products, which includes laundry cake soap, diapers, foil, and tissue.

It's one of the latest investment in Jamaica by investors from China who have deepened their interest on the island over the past several years.

ADA currently operates inside the Naggo Head Industrial Complex in Portmore. Its laundry soap products have particularly gained traction in Jamaica over the last two years, with industry insiders pointing to the brand's "very affordable" price point as a major draw in a very competitive market.

Jamaica has the largest laundry soap market in the Caribbean, with industry experts valuing it at some $3 billion annually, of which 90 per cent is based on imports.

Ajax, Breeze, Blue Bomber, Ariel, Sudsil, Sudsud, and Tide are some of the popular brands on the local market.

ADA has ramped up its advertising spend recently, with the distributor touting that "ADA brings the best value and quality products to every home!"

The message clearly appears to be 'hitting home'.

"I buy ADA soap because it's cheap and it doesn't wash bad," said one shopper inside an Empire Supermarket in Kingston yesterday.

But the company made the airwaves for an entirely different reason earlier this year when gunmen held up a watchman and stole a 40-foot container loaded with $3.8-million worth of ADA soap powder from a garage on Spanish Town Road in Kingston. Two men currently face charges for allegedly being involved in the crime.

Tide has become a hot commodity among thieves at supermarkets and drugstores in at least some parts of the US. For a variety of reasons, the detergent in the familiar flame-orange bottle is well-suited for resale on the black market, reported the Associated Press recently.

One Safeway supermarket in Prince George's County, Maryland, was losing thousands of dollars' worth of Tide a week before police made more than two dozen arrests. In West St Paul, Minnesota, a man pleaded guilty to stealing more than US$6,000 worth of the soap from a Walmart and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Police in Newport News, Virginia, and other cities around the country have reported a spike in thefts.

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