Chinese paper company invests in Virginia straw

Global Business

A Chinese paper-making company has reached a deal to bring its first manufacturing plant to the East Coast of the United States. CCTV America’s Jessica Stone reports.

Chinese paper company invests in Virginia straw

Chinese paper company invests in Virginia straw

A Chinese paper-making company has reached a deal to bring its first manufacturing plant to the East Coast of the United States. CCTV America's Jessica Stone reports.


In the fertile Virginia fields, farmers grow alfalfa, soybeans and corn. For years, Kevin Engel has been looking for a market for leftover corn stalks and straw from his wheat harvest.

Right now, Engel sells some of his straw to mushroom farmers 400 kilometers, about 250 miles, away. However, he hopes he will soon be selling his corn husks to the Tranlin Paper company.

Tranlin’s paper comes from both leftover straw, corn stalks and husks, and other so-called feed stock that a lot of farmers simply throw away or till under. The company’s paper is not your traditional white color, but rather a straw color because the company says the paper pulp is never bleached.

The company could create a whole new market for grain farmers. It’s an idea that was born in China’s Shandong province back in the 1970’s.

“Increasingly, Chinese have fewer and fewer forests from which to make paper,” said Jill Douthit, chief financial officer of the U.S. subsidiary of the company.  “They are at the point now where they are importing wood pulp. So if you are in the paper-making business, obviously you need to be looking at alternative fuels to put into the paper. And so straw became an obvious alternative.”

Tranlin’s CEO, Jerry Peng, was attracted to Virginia because of its competitive electricity prices, a deep water port, and cash incentives that ensure 2,000 projected jobs will be located there by 2020.

For Tranlin, it’s all about breaking into the largest consumer market in the world, with products ranging from paper cups, napkins and plates to tissues and paper towels.

Tranlin paper will likely cost more than regular paper products, and will be targeted at environmentally-conscious shoppers. The company also uses the paper-making waste to make fertilizer for farmers.

Shuanghui, China’s biggest meat processor, purchased Smithfield Foods Inc. for $4.7 billion last September. Smithfield is also located in Virginia. It was the biggest ever Chinese takeover of an American company. Early this year, Shuanghui changed its name to the Wanzhou Holdings Group. CCTV America spoke to Wan Long, the chairman and chief executive of Wanzhou Holdings.

Wan Long of Wanzhou Holdings discusses takeover of Smithfield Foods

Wan Long of Wanzhou Holdings discusses takeover of Smithfield Foods

Shuanghui, China's biggest meat processor, purchased Smithfield Foods Inc. for $4.7 billion last September. Smithfield is also located in Virginia. It was the biggest ever Chinese takeover of an American company. Early this year, Shuanghui changed its name to the Wanzhou Holdings Group. CCTV America spoke to Wan Long, the chairman and chief executive of Wanzhou Holdings.

The state of Virginia has focused on becoming a major trade partner to China, especially when it comes to the agricultural sector. China is now the top export market for the state.

For more on the growing interest in the state from Chinese investors like Tranlin in Virginia, CCTV America spoke to Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Secretary and Forestry, Todd Haymore.

Todd Haymore discusses Chinese interest in Virginia\\\'s agriculture

Todd Haymore discusses Chinese interest in Virginia\\\'s agriculture

For more on the growing interest in the state from Chinese investors like Tranlin in Virginia, CCTV America spoke to Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Secretary and Forestry, Todd Haymore.

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