A Chinese billionaire is staking his legacy — and thousands of American jobs — on this factory in Ohio
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- December 1, 2016
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MORAINE, OHIO — Shortly after his private plane landed in Ohio on a recent morning, the Chinese billionaire set off down Interstate 75 to inspect the factory on which he has staked his legacy and the future of this gritty patch of the American Rust Belt.
The sprawling plant is a local landmark, just off the highway unofficially known as Auto Alley. General Motors built it in the 1920s, and for generations it created the kind of blue-collar jobs that defined America’s middle class. But by the time the last SUV rolled off the assembly line here, the city of Moraine had succumbed to the flood of inexpensive imports and cheap foreign labor that battered industrial towns in Ohio and across the country.
Now Cho Tak Wong is in charge of the factory. The billionaire chairman of Fuyao Group, the biggest maker of automotive glass in China, Cho rose from rural poverty by riding the same wave of globalization that devastated Moraine — a living example of the reversal of fortune that has turned China into the United States’ chief economic rival in public debates and political rhetoric. At a recent campaign stop in this perennial swing state, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump called trade with the country “a one-way street.”