Turkey is a crucial bridge in the region, as it links Europe, Africa, and the Mideast, said an official from Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, citing its new multimillion-dollar factory in Istanbul.

“Turkey is a key country for our global expansion plan. It’s always a high-priority market for Xiaomi in the global strategy,” Cindy Chang, the company’s marketing manager for the Middle East, told Anadolu Agency.

Touching on the firm’s new factory in Istanbul, the country’s commercial and business hub, she said in the first phase it aims to meet domestic demand and later can export some of its products.

Earlier this week Xiaomi, with its partner Salcomp, opened a $30 million factory in Istanbul.

Salcomp is a Finnish-based supply giant, especially in the cellphone market.

The 14,000-square-meter (150,700-square-foot) factory, boasting 2,000 workers, has the capacity to roll out 5 million smartphones a year.

Training for high-tech production

Chang said the factory will produce Xiaomi’s Redmi smartphones – its most popular line – and then diversify its product range.

She also said the factory will employ both a blue- and white-collar labor force, creating new job opportunities in Turkey.

The first priority is training the workforce on the skills crucial for cellphone technology, she added.

Chang also praised the Turkish workforce, saying they are very open to new technologies and willing to embrace different trends.

“The Turkish people are very energetic and open to trying new things,” she said.

Turkish tech hub

Xiaomi also plans to open more than 100 retail stores in Turkey this year.

Turkey is increasingly a hub for high-tech firms. Recently, Oppo, another Chinese cellphone giant, opened a factory in the country.

Chinese tech firm Huawei also has a major research and development center in Turkey.

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