South Carolina attracts Chinese FDI

By Hong Xiao in Greenville, South Carolina | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-06-02 11:18

South Carolina, which has been a center of America's traditional manufacturing for more than a century, is becoming one of the prime US destinations for foreign investment.

"South Carolina was once barely known by Chinese investors, but with its industrial revival in recent years, it has become a hot spot," said Han Zhuo, chairman of the China General Chamber of Commerce USA-Washington DC Chapter, at a forum on Chinese manufacturing in the US, in Greenville, South Carolina on Thursday.

In addition to its prime location between Atlanta and Charlotte, South Carolina is known for its strategic location to major markets, access to raw materials and connections to growing industries, making it an ideal place for growing companies to locate.

The advantages drive economic development and support the region's diverse range of companies in the automotive, aerospace, advanced materials and bioscience industries, according to the Upstate SC Alliance website.

Plants of BMW, Michelin, Fuji, GE Power, and more than 1,800 other manufacturing companies are spreading all over this region.

For international investors, South Carolina is a fit for their business needs with access to markets, as well as top-notch workforce talent.

Home to more than 460 foreign-owned firms, the state has ranked No.1 for jobs linked to foreign investment for the last five years, according to an annual report published by IBM-Plant Location International.

In just the past few years, JN Fiber, auto parts producer Minghua USA, Jushi USA Fiberglass and other Chinese manufacturing enterprises have chosen South Carolina to set up their production lines, which have created jobs and promoted local economic development.

In 2016, South Carolina was named the No. 2 state for doing business in Area Development's 2016 analysis. The state also received an A grade for manufacturing health in the 2016 Manufacturing & Logistics Report Card.

"I believe the US manufacturing industry is promising, since its development is in line with President Trump's 'Make America Great Again' and his plan to create jobs," said Minister of the Chinese Embassy Zhu Hong.

With more Chinese enterprises investing in the US, Zhu said the opportunity comes with challenges.

"Most Chinese enterprises making investment in the US have a positive evaluation of the US investment environment. However, some of them are still facing obstacles in visa applications, raising capital, participation in domestic infrastructure construction and security review of acquisition," he said.

"In addition, high labor costs, a complicated legal system, the cultural gap and the difficulties in industrial support and recruitment and training, are all challenges Chinese enterprises in the US may face," he added.

To better meet such challenges and seek solutions together, more than 100 senior managers from Chinese manufacturing enterprises across the US attended the forum.

"The US market is mature, the competition is fierce, and each Chinese enterprise here has learned or will learn from its experience.

"So why don't we take advantage of today's forum as a great opportunity, to share our experiences and learn from each other," said Han.

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