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From Site Selection magazine, September 2023

Why California Is The Top State for Foreign Investment

An inside look into TeamCalifornia’s members’ widespread success.

There are over 718,000 students enrolled in two- and four-year universities within 100 miles of the Greater Sacramento region.
Photo courtesy of The Greater Sacramento Economic Council

by Lindsay Lopp

ith the fifth largest economy in the world, California outshines entire countries on the global stage. And its dominance won’t be dimming anytime soon. 

“It’s just different out here. The mindset is different,” says Robin Reimold, President and CEO of TeamCalifornia. ‘California’s not only for dreamers, it’s for doers and so it’s that mindset that we can actually do and get things done.”

And boy, does TeamCalifornia get the job done. As the state’s centralized information source for expanding and locating a business, the private, nonprofit, membership-based organization is on the frontlines of California’s economic development efforts. 

“We work with the key decision makers in building relationships and being a valued contact for them, a single point of contact. A name with a face and a connector when people are thinking about California,” says Reimold. 

By bolstering its network of members, which includes cities, counties, EDCs and other organizations, TeamCalifornia incites economic growth across every region of the state, many of which house epicenters for leading industries.

“This is an economy that is globally renowned for turning innovation into commercialization,” says Emily Desai, Deputy Director of International Affairs and Trade at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). “We are home to entrepreneurs and innovators at the cutting edge of science and technology, including renewable energy, aerospace and sustainable aviation, life sciences and biotech, AI, advanced manufacturing, space technology and systems, and more. This is a state where good ideas can grow and turn into life-changing companies and products.”

Each year, this one-of-a-kind asset entices companies to invest in California, including those from beyond America’s borders. Ranked the No.1 state in the U.S. in foreign direct investment (FDI), California received $64.1 billion in FDI in 2021. Japan remains the state’s foremost investor with 3,523 firms. The United Kingdom, France, Canada and Switzerland are also among the top five countries investing in California. 

Workers You Won’t Find Anywhere Else 

“The most important aspect of our state that makes us attractive to foreign partners is our people,” says Desai. “California has an unmatched talent base — we’re multilingual, multicultural and globally engaged. We have a world-class education system that drives research and development and builds a workforce including everything from highly skilled technical talent to executive leadership and PhDs.”

Currently, FDI in California supports more than 635,000 jobs, paying nearly $70 billion in wages. As many of the nation’s most prestigious universities, including Stanford University, California Institute of Technology and University of California, Berkeley, are located in the state, companies who come to California know they are gaining access to an unparalleled pipeline of workers.

Last fall, Solidigm, a U.S.-based subsidiary of global semiconductor company SK Hynix, Inc., invested over $100 million into a new research and development campus in Rancho Cordova, creating 1,900 new jobs. Solidigm, alongside other companies located in the Greater Sacramento region, has a massive talent pool to choose from, as more than 718,000 students are enrolled in two- and four-year colleges within a 100-mile radius. Five months after the Rancho Cordova expansion was announced, the new location was named the company’s global headquarters.

Shortly thereafter, Bosch, a multinational engineering and technology company, revealed plans to acquire TSI Semiconductors, a foundry for application-specific integrated circuits in Roseville, a suburb of Sacramento. Bosch intends to invest more than $1.5 billion in the site, which would be its first chip manufacturing facility in the United States and its third in the world.

Both of these major economic wins were secured by one of TeamCalifornia’s members, the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. 

With the fifth largest economy in the world, California outshines entire countries on the global stage. And its dominance won’t be dimming anytime soon.  “It’s just different out here. The mindset is different,” says Robin Reimold, President and CEO of Te

Tesla opened another California facility, a utility scale battery manufacturing plant to produce the company’s largest energy storage unit — the Megapack. Photo courtesy of Tesla, Inc. 

“With Solidigm and Bosch’s announcements, the region is now a globally significant cluster,” says Barry Boome, President and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council. “One sixth of California’s semiconductor jobs are in Greater Sacramento, and five of the world’s six leading memory chip manufacturers have R&D operations here, including Intel, Micron and Solidigm.”

Success Is in the Soil 

Throughout the state, semiconductor manufacturing and other forms of clean technology projects have skyrocketed. And it’s easy to understand why. Success for this industry is literally in the soil. TeamCalifornia and its members in lithium-rich regions are using this natural resource to their advantage. 

In January, the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation, a TeamCalifornia member, secured Statevolt’s latest project, a 135-acre site for a battery gigafactory. The $3.5 billion project will encompass 3.2 million sq. ft of manufacturing space, with construction expected to be completed by early 2025.

Tesla also opened an additional California facility in the City of Lathrop, another TeamCalifornia member, last fall. Its new utility-scale battery manufacturing Megafactory produces the company’s largest energy storage unit — the Megapack. Tesla expects to build up to 10,000 Megapacks annually at this facility and hire up to 1,000 employees. 

California’s business incentives and longstanding policy commitments continue to send a clear message that the state is serious about confronting climate change. In July, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an infrastructure streamlining package to cut project timelines by more than three years for clean infrastructure projects. This legislation will not only aid in achieving California’s clean energy and climate goals but will also create around 400,000 new jobs. Unprecedented investments over the past two state budgets and funding from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) allow the state to invest up to $180 billion over the next 10 years.

This incentive is yet another asset in TeamCalifornia’s arsenal of resources for attracting business. 

“You can go to other states, and there’s nothing wrong with any of those other states but it’s just different out here,” says Reimold. “We have the workforce, a highly educated skilled workforce. We have proximity to people, with over 40 million people in the state alone. Also, proximity to infrastructure and proximity to natural resources. California really does have it all and that makes it a very attractive place for folks to enjoy true quality of life.” 

This Investment Profile has been prepared under the auspices of TeamCalifornia. For more information, visit or contact Robin Reimold:

Lindsay Lopp
Associate Editor of Site Selection magazine

Lindsay Lopp joined Conway Data in 2023. She is the assistant editor of the company's Custom Content division and regularly contributes to Site Selection magazine. In 2021, she graduated from Pratt Institute with her BFA in Creative Writing and is currently completing her MFA in Popular Fiction and Publishing at Emerson College.

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