Chinese hemp food maker invests $10 million in North Carolina factory soon to open

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A Chinese hemp food producer said it expects to have a new factory online in North Carolina by the end of the year.

Q-Power, Inc. said it has put $10 million into a facility that will produce seed-based products at its complex in Louisburg, N.C., and plans further investments.

“We will expand our products and, probably, this factory will not be sufficient,” Q-Power Chairwoman Zhiyi Zhang told WRAL TV, Raleigh. “That will be our next phase to expand to buy a new, bigger factory.”

Chinese giant

The company, which has been in business for more than 20 years, is part of a massive government-owned Chinese conglomerate that produces everything from food to clothing, machinery, petroleum, lumber, metals and minerals, according to records on Dun & Bradstreet.

Zhiyi said 20-30 employees will be hired to operate the highly automated phase I facility.

“We have imported some product from China already,” Zhiyi said. “So, we have set up a good relationship around the U.S. Q-Power is committed to investing and exploring the market in the United States to meet our American customers’ needs.”

1,000 tons/year

The highly automated factory will employ 20-30 workers. (Photo: WRAL TV)

Chinese hemp producers have shipped in roughly 100 tons of hemp seed worth a half million dollars to American customers so far this year, according to figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

Most hemp seed and hempseed-derived products on the U.S. market come from Canada, which has sold a total of roughly 3,500 tons of seeds valued at $39 million to the U.S. through the first 10 months of 2023.

Q-Power said it hopes to turn out a total 1,000 tons of hemp seed, oil, and protein annually at the facility soon to go online.

Grain from where?

North Carolina hemp growers harvested just 600 acres of hemp in 2022, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistical Service, two-thirds of that for fiber, and the remainder for CBD – with virtually no fields recorded for hemp grain farming.

North Carolina officials welcomed the Chinese investment.

“Having a company that’s going to bring other alternatives and options for the consumer is a good thing,” Franklin County economic development director Barbara Fiedor told WRAL.

“I am excited about Q-power opening its operations here in the County,” said Franklin County Manager Kim Denton. “Franklin County continues to grow and is well positioned for companies like Q-Power to thrive.”

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