IPOH: Work on the Ipoh Shoe City project, an ambitious initiative to turn the city into a leading shoe producer in the country, is expected to begin next month.
It would be completed in two years' time, a year before the 100th anniversary of the Perak Footwear Industry Association (PFIA).
The RM20 million project, to be undertaken by PFIA, would be located on a 10.5ha piece of state land at the Pengkalan Industrial Area near here. Once completed, it would house over 300 footwear factories, currently located in Bukit Merah.
There would also be an exhibition hall to promote footwear products, attract investors as well as tourists.
Speaking after a meeting with representatives of government departments and agencies, Ipoh City Council and PFIA here yesterday, Perak state executive council member Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said the state government was supportive of the idea to set up the shoe city.
"We have ironed out whatever outstanding issues and if all goes well, we will have the groundbreaking for the project in the middle of next month.
Dr Mah said the footwear industry was important to the state, which contributed about 70 per cent, or RM700 million, of the total RM1 billion footwear export market in the country.
There are currently 500 shoe producers in Perak, providing employment to over 30,000 people.
PFIA president Low Heng Keat thanked the state government for allocating them the land to kick start the shoe city project.