The Turkish investment of Weibo AD International textile investment company was first announced in April 2014, just days before the parliamentary elections of that same year, with its plan to build the largest integrated textile centre in Europe, in the Rankovce industrial zone, near Kriva Palanka.
This Turkish company in Macedonia was to produce shirts, suits, coats, jackets, pants, with its production intended for markets in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain, China, South Korea and Japan.
The investment was originally announced at 180 million dollars, and within five years estimates reached 400 million dollars, with plans for it to create 5000 jobs.
When former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski announced this investment, he also informed that it is possible for Weibo to invest in two more factories in the steel industry.
In November 2015, Weibo issued a statement informing the public that the investment was put on hold.
“Currently, the project has come to a standstill. One of the main reasons why the investment in Rankovce has been put on hold is the inability to find adequate workforce for the realisation of our high production targets for the existing factory in Kriva Palanka,” stated Weibo in their statement.
At the time, media outlets reported that the Turkish company had requested a permission from Macedonian authorities to bring over foreign workers, together with their families, and to build approximately 1,000 houses, as they had reportedly found adequate workforce in Turkey, Egypt and Bulgaria. However, the Macedonian Government found this proposal unacceptable.
The opposition party, SDSM, also reacted to the halt of the investment.
“Recent reports say that Weibo Group have announced that they are proceeding with the investment, but in Vranje, Serbia. This is not the first company that has decided not to invest their capital in Macedonia. Similarly, Danish Grundfos, also decided ultimately to invest in Serbia;” it was written in the statement of SDSM.
However, the non-current assets of both Wiebo companies in Macedonia, Weibo Group Construction and Weibo Group Macedonia, amounted to approximately 3.4 million euros in 2015.
The number of employees in these companies, also in 2015, was 25.
NovaTV published an investigative story that linked the Weibo investment with the businesses of Orce Kamcev.
A few months after the announcement of the Turkish investment, in October 2014 , Weibo took over the textile factory Orca of businessman Orce Kamcev, which is located outside the industrial zone, near Kriva Palanka.
The factory that Weibo bought from Orca was planned as a training centre for workers who were going to be engaged in their new plants; it was for those reasons that Weibo expanded on the plants of the old factory – an investment worth 10 million, according to the Turkish company.
As reported on NovaTV, Weibo Group in Skopje is registered at the same address as the Apostolski Law Office. Their headquarters was located in the city centre, by the main church. However, the large signs with the inscriptions of the name of the company have already been removed.