This year, North Carolina marks 40 years since HondaJet, the state’s first Japanese direct investor, inaugurated its manufacturing facility in the city of Greensboro. Since 1982, the company has assembled more than 200 planes from the site and designed next-generation aircraft.
Recently, two Japanese companies unveiled plans to expand in North Carolina. Toyota said it would build its first dedicated electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant in the United States just outside Greensboro, while FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies announced the expansion of its factory near Raleigh.
These billion-dollar Japanese investments have significantly contributed to the industrialization of North Carolina, a historically agricultural eocnomy. To date, there are more than 200 Japanese-owned businesses in the state employing nearly 30,000 residents.
“FDIs diversifies our economy in a positive way. It also lends to cultural diversity, which I think is just an important marker of a more global place. When foreign investments come in, it’s a vote of confidence in North Carolina’s business climate,” said Christopher Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina.
Chung is pleased at how North Carolina’s economy is shaping up this year, indicating that the state may have already recovered from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
And breaking new ground last year, North Carolina passed legislation that committed to cut carbon emmissions from power generation by 70% by 2030 and to achieve net-zero emission by 2050, while keeping rates cost effective for all businesses.
The state hopes that by developing more renewable sources of energy, like wind, solar, and hydropower, it gains a competitive advantage over other states and attract more investors sharing similar sustainability objectives.
Not limiting itself to the manufacturing sector, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) wants to see more corporate headquarters, research and development centers, food processing plants, as well as warehouse and distribution facilties in the state, which has seen a recent expansion in the life sciences sector, like gene therapy and biotechnology.