After securing a Legoland and Hello Kitty Town for the state, Johor’s next item on the list is to develop and position itself as Malaysia’s “chocolate state”.

According to Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, American chocolate company Hershey Company has invested RM 816 mil to build a plant in Senai, Johor Bahru, which will be a step towards achieving that goal.

The Hershey plant is expected to complete in 2015, and its existence will create more than 400 job opportunities for Malaysians.

Mohamed Khaled added that there would be another international chocolate company to set up a plant in the state this year, but declined to divulge more details about the company.

Hershey Company will be opening a factory in Johor Bahru.

When asked if he believed that the developing and positioning Johor as the country’s key chocolate hub would be successful, Mohamed Khaled answered in the affirmative, saying that Johor’s cocoa industry is dynamic and vibrant.

He explained that presently Malaysia has a cocoa grinding capacity of 300,000 tonnes annually, of which about 85% of the grinding capacity was based in Johor.

Additionally, Mohamed Khaled’s statements were given at the press conference at the opening of Guan Chong Bhd’s GCB Specialty Chocolates Sdn Bhd at the Port of Tanjung Pelepas industrial zone, which costs RM 55 mil.