Texas may soon be announcing one of its largest foreign direct investments (FDI) to date — a $17 billion semiconductor project for South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. The site search, which reportedly includes locations in Korea, New York and Arizona, was still under way in early April. Should Texas land the project, it would likely join the Austin industrial market, where Samsung Austin Semiconductor has employed thousands of workers for the past 25 years.
The Samsung project would add more than 500 FDI jobs to the Lone Star State’s more than 666,000 — the second-highest number of such jobs in the U.S. behind California. More than 1,700 international companies have operations in Texas, employing more than 203,800 in the manufacturing sector, or 31% of all FDI jobs in the state, according to the Global Business Alliance. As a percent of total workers, Texas has the highest number of FDI jobs in the South Central U.S., at 6.1%. FDI employment growth grew 28% from 2013 to 2018; the state’s overall private-sector employment grew 13% in that timeframe, or half the rate of FDI job growth.
In November 2020, Site Selection magazine named Texas the top state for FDI based on projects involving foreign-based end-user investors, total project-related capex and total project-related job creation according to the publication’s proprietary Conway Projects Database. Two Texas metros — Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land and Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington — placed fifth and sixth respectively in the Top 10 metros for FDI projects nationally.
Texas is home to 32 foreign trade zones, giving international companies requiring the benefits afforded by those plenty of location options. The U.K., Germany, Canada, France and Japan are the countries with those most FDI projects in Texas from 2011 to 2016, according to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development & Tourism. The top five by job creation are Japan, Canada, Germany, India and the U.K.
Japanese Investors Add Texas Facilities
Japan appears in both Top 5 lists, and in November 2020 it added another project to its extensive presence in Texas. CKD Corporation, headquartered in Aichi, Japan, announced its first U.S. production site in Austin. The $13-million investment will create up to 70 new jobs and is scheduled to begin operations in fall 2021. CKD Corporation provides automation technology products found in a wide range of industries including automotive, packaging, and medical. The Austin manufacturing facility will produce fluid-control components for the semiconductor industry.
In April, the Dallas office of Duke Realty Corporation announced the development of a state-of-the-art, full-service distribution facility for Yokohama Tire Corporation at Intermodal III Industrial Park. The deal secures a long-term lease agreement for the 431,630-square-foot facility in Wilmer, Texas, about 15 miles southeast of Dallas. The new facility expands Yokohama’s distribution network in the U.S. to a fourth location centrally located to meet the needs of its customers in the Southwest. Yokohama Tire is expected to begin occupying the space this summer. It will first be used to distribute Yokohama’s OE tires, followed by passenger car/light truck and commercial truck/bus products in 2022.
Mark Arend has been editor in chief of Site Selection magazine since 2001. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.