Haier Group — Camden, South Carolina

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Two words: jobs and China. When you hear these words, you probably think of American investments flowing to manufacturing operations located in China. But sometimes the investments flow the other way. Such is the case in Camden, South Carolina.

The Haier Group, sometimes called the General Electric of China, intends to invest an additional $100 million in its Camden facility. Haier is China’s largest and the world’s fourth-largest manufacturer of major household appliances. It first invested in Camden in 1999. Expanding its Camden operations will boost employment at this site from 200 to 1,000.

Haier’s expansion is especially welcome news in this region, which has been hurt by continuing decline in the textile industry. “Any time a facility based in South Carolina plans to increase its employment by five-fold, it’s obviously good news for the state,” Governor Mark Sanford said. “In this case, it’s particularly significant because it re-emphasizes our administration’s commitment to making sure trade with China isn’t a one-way street. We want to make sure that …South Carolina is an integral part of [China’s] growth strategy within the United States.”

At this time, South Carolina is leading the nation in recruitment of foreign investment with the highest rate of direct foreign investment per capita. Foreign investment has enhanced South Carolina’s ability to compete in the global economy. Another advantage is the state’s port facilities. The Port of Charleston was ranked number one in North America for customer satisfaction by World Trade Magazine.

The expansion announcement was made just prior to a state dinner attended by Vice Premier Wu Yi and a high-level Chinese delegation. Madame Wu occupies the third most powerful position in the Chinese government. The state dinner, hosted at the South Carolina Governor’s Mansion, also welcomed Senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint and Commerce Secretary Taylor, among others.

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