Nnewi is home to many major indigenous manufacturing industries including Ibeto Group of Companies, Cutix and ADswitch, Uru Industries Ltd, Omata Holdings Ltd, Cento Group of Companies, Coscharis of Companies Group, Innoson Group of Companies, Ebunso Nig. Ltd, John White Industries, Ejiamatu Group of Companies, Chicason Group, Louis Carter Group, etc.
The great majority of industrialists in the cluster of spare parts factories in Nnewi are also traders, and most of these traders are producing one or more of the products they specialize in marketing as traders (usually motor vehicle parts), and most began by distributing their products through their preexisting distribution networks.
The growth of small and medium scale engineering and manufacturing firms in the city can be traced to various factors including location and perceived noneconomic social institutions such as family, culture, religion and kinships which imbibes trust. Many of the firms employ family members and relations at critical positions and employ age-old coordinated social political-cultural institutions such as lineages to provide an economic function. A number of the firms started out as trading entities before branching into manufacturing firms and utilized technical skills and techniques acquired from Taiwan and a few other Asian countries. They were able to withstand the structural adjustment programme of the mid to late 80s, by showing significant growth during the period as other firms folded.
During the rise of indigenous manufacturing clusters in the city, the firms functioned as substitutes of the state, many times providing their own water, road and power facilities.
Nnewi is part of eastern Nigeria’s industrial axis. The town has through culturally grounded institutions that act as sophisticated networks expanded to include an international dimension through trading relations with exporters from Asia. Over the last decade, the town of Nnewi has experienced relatively rapid industrialization. In excess of 20 medium-to-large-scale industries have been established across a variety of sectors. Since 1970, Nnewi residents have controlled approximately 80 to 90 per cent of the motor-parts trade in Nigeria.
Nkwo Nnewi Market is the major import and wholesale point for motor spare parts in Nigeria. The industrialists of Nnewi are adapting foreign technology to local needs, providing employment to thousands, and making available goods and services which are relevant actual needs of the Nigerian citizens. The first indigenous car manufacturing plant is located in the city, while the first wholly Made-in-Nigeria motorcycle was manufactured in Nnewi by the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI).
The following are the names of the major manufacturing industries:
- Ibeto Group of Companies
- Cutix and ADswitch
- Omata Holdings Ltd
- Centro Group of Companies
- Coscharis of Companies Group
- Innoson Group of Companies
- Edison Nig. Ltd
- John White Industries M. O. I. Ltd.
- John Ray Industries LTD
- Luis Carter Industries LTD
- Iju Industries LTD and etc
Nnewi is known for the vibrant auto industry in the city, the first Igbo man to own and drive a car was HRH Igwe. Orizu I (Eze Ugbo Onya Mba) in 1912. By 1940, Nnewi residents were at the centre of an international trading network that dominated the supply of motor spare parts in Nigeria. The town subsequently became a centre for commerce and industry and has one of the largest automotive parts markets in Africa. Nnewi Township is an authentic “manufacturing miracle.” Small and medium-sized industries have set up in the town and are producing not only for the Nigeria markets but – albeit still to a limited extent – for markets abroad.
Industrialization of the town began around 1970 when Nnewi motor parts traders began marketing their own brand name products instead of the reproductions of “original” parts. There are a several auto and motorcycle spare parts dealers in Nnewi; the Nnewi Motorcycle spare parts market is well known throughout West Africa. There is also new auto plant, the first of its kind in Nigeria, owned by a Nnewi businessman, Innocent Chukwuma, Oon and a Chinese auto Company.