A Chinese electric vehicle (EV) battery company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party announced new plans to expand its operations on U.S. soil with a project in Illinois.
Gotion Inc., whose parent company Gotion High-Tech is based in Hefei, China, unveiled plans to build a $2 billion lithium battery plant in Manteno, Illinois, alongside Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who cheered the project.
The announcement comes amid growing opposition to the company’s plans to build a billion-dollar factory in Mecosta County, Michigan.
“In partnership with the business community and the General Assembly, two years ago we set out to make Illinois a destination for electric vehicle and clean energy companies from across the globe,” Pritzker said in a statement.
“With the right incentives, nation-leading infrastructure, world-class workforce and booming clean energy production, we have transformed ourselves into an attractive location for global manufacturers. Today, we take another leap forward. It’s my pleasure to welcome Gotion to Illinois and to show the world yet again that Illinois is ready to be a player on the world stage.”
Pritzker delivered remarks late last week thanking Gotion for choosing Illinois to call “home” in a ceremony with leaders from Gotion High-Tech, including Li Zhen, the company’s chairman and president, who said he expected the factory to open in less than 12 months.
“All that we see here [in Illinois] are of enormous value to us: an enabling business environment, a supportive state government for the new energy industry and their highly efficient work, as well as the prospects of the State of Illinois in the coming years,” the Gotion president added.
“We believe that Gotion’s battery technology will help to boost e-mobility in North America and the economic and trade exchanges between China and the U.S.”
According to Pritzker’s office, the factory will be both the largest ever EV battery production investment in Illinois and the most significant manufacturing investment in the state in decades. The plant is projected to create 2,600 jobs with above-average wages compared to similar jobs in the region.
And the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said Gotion’s total incentive package from the state is valued at $536 million in taxpayer funds.
Gotion is facing headwinds in Michigan as it continues to push ahead with another plant. That factory — announced in October 2022 and backed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — would manufacture battery components that would then be sent to the Illinois plant for final assembly.
Local residents, former State Department officials and Republicans have opposed the Michigan project, arguing Gotion High-Tech’s activities in the U.S. pose a national security risk.
Opponents of the project have particularly noted the company’s allegiance to the Chinese government and often pointed to Gotion High-Tech’s corporate bylaws, which state that the company is required to “carry out Party activities in accordance with the Constitution of the Communist Party of China.”
The company’s 2022 ESG report says Gotion High-Tech “carried out thematic education activities such as the study of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, red theme education and love for students,” The Midwesterner reported.
Earlier this year, a Michigan law firm quietly registered Gotion Inc. as a Chinese foreign principal, according to FARA filings reviewed by Fox News Digital.
“Subnational incursions are afoot,” former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Cella, the co-founder of the Michigan-China Economic and Security Review Group, previously told Fox News Digital.
“China is on the hunt. The Chinese Communist Party is on the hunt. They are looking for these open doors to kick in, in states. And they have carried great sway. You just need to look at Gotion or CATL — textbook examples of this influence operation.”