Highlights of The Carolinas

United States subsidiaries of foreign-affiliated companies play a vital role in South Carolina’s economy. South Carolina largely depends on direct foreign investment to provide direct and indirect jobs, tax revenue, international trade, leadership, citizenship and culture. (SC Department of Commerce)

  • South Carolina ranks 16th in the nation in the total number of employees (117,600) working for all foreign-affiliated companies. (SCDOC)
  • South Carolina has 643 foreign-affiliated firms. (SCDOC)
  • Since 1960, foreign-affiliated companies have invested more than $34 billion in South Carolina. (SCDOC)
  • Foreign investment in South Carolina was responsible for 7.1 percent of the state’s total private-industry employment in 2006, tied for the highest figure among the 50 states. (US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis)
  • In 2006, South Carolina was 1st in the nation for foreign controlled manufacturing. Foreign-controlled companies accounted for 21.8%, over one-fifth, of the total manufacturing employment in South Carolina. (US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis)
  • 194 manufacturing companies representing 21 countries account for 26,629 manufacturing jobs in Upstate, South Carolina. (Upstate Alliance, GSA Business, September 2008)
  • Of the jobs recruited to South Carolina in 2007, 31% were created from direct foreign investment. Approximately 4,856 of the total jobs created in SC were a result of direct foreign investment. (SCDOC)
  • Out of all 2007 projects within the state, 25% were foreign direct investment. (Upstate Alliance, GSA Business, September 2008)
  • South Carolina was ranked #1 for "Economic Growth Potential," #3 for "Automotive Manufacturing Strength" and #4 for "Best Business Climate" by the Business Facilities Magazine 2009. 

While more than 40 countries have operations in South Carolina, China-affiliated companies have begun making a substantial impact on economic development.

  • In May 2007, South Carolina signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Chinese government to establish and designate South Carolina as a preferred US location of Chinese businesses to operate and identified areas for enhanced cooperation between the two. (SCDOC)
  • Also in May 2007, the Chinese Ministry of Railways signed a contract with Harsco Track Technologies, a major global supplier of railway track maintenance equipment and service in West Columbia. These orders from the Chinese Ministry of Railways were expected to generate more than $350 million in new revenue over four years. (SCDOC)
  • In 2005, the SC Department of Commerce established a state office in Shanghai, China. (SCDOC)
  • In 2008, the state office was recognized for its efforts in assisting Chinese companies invest abroad. (SCDOC)
  • In 2007, the office was recognized at the "Chinese Enterprises Going Global" National Contribution Award Appraisal event. South Carolina was both the only US and only regional organization to win the award. (SCDOC)
  • In 2002, Greenville, SC became the official sister city of Tianjin, China. The partnership creates and strengthens ties to promote cultural and economic development between the two regions.
  • Greenville, SC is home to Pacific Gateway Capital Group, LLC. For over 25 years, PGC founder, Vivian Wong has specialized fostering in US/China relationships, trade and investments. PGC has offices in Shanghai, China and an economic development center branded "The Global Trade Center" in Greenville, SC.

While other areas in the nation continue to feel the effects of a slowing economy, South Carolina is home to some economic development bright spots.

  • fDi (Foreign Direct Investment Magazine) named Greenville, SC the top micro North American City of the Future 2009/10, due to its strong economic potential, good human resources and high scores in business friendliness. (April/May 2009)
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports Greenville County has the fourth (4th) strongest employment growth in the nation. (The Greenville News, April 22, 2008)
  • Approximately $2.4 billion in capital investment in 2009 and South Carolina recruited 18,000 new jobs.  South Carolina lead the Southeast in jobs recruited in 2009. (Secretary of Commerce Office)

South Carolina’s workforce is primed for economic growth and development.

  • South Carolina leads among the least unionized states in the nation. US Department of Labor reports 12.4% of the nation’s work force belong to a union in 2008. In SC only 3.9% of the work force belonged to a union. (SC Department of Commerce)

South Carolina’s infrastructure leads the nation in economic growth and development.

  • "South Carolina has a strong importance due to its proximity to major ports, easy access to railroads and highways and excellent manpower and infrastructure availability," FITESA's Managing Director, Silverio Baranzano
  • Charleston, South Carolina is a port of call for ships from ever region of the world. (Government and Security News Magazine, May 29, 2007)
  • Based on 2007 figures Charleston, South Carolina is the 4th busiest port in the nation. (Government and Security News Magazine, May 29, 2007)
  • The port is the 6th largest customs district in the dollar value of its international shipments. (US Census Bureau Trade Data Branch report FT920, Tables 1 & 6)
  • The SC State Ports Authority has allotted more than $60 million in total construction projects already underway for 2009. (Government and Security News Magazine, May 29, 2007)

North Carolina
N.C. has the 9th largest international presence in the U.S., with firms hailing from more than 30 countries around the globe.

North Carolina is fast becoming a compelling force in today’s global economy.  In 2006, direct foreign investment in our state was valued at $26 billion. More international companies are choosing to locate in North Carolina every day due to the unique rewards of doing business in our state.  
 These companies conduct business in a mixture of industries, from motor vehicles to financial services to pharmaceuticals, and are involved in activities from research and development, shipping, to manufacturing. (NC Department of Commerce)

2009 Accolades

  •  No. 9, America's Top States for Business study, CNBC, July 2009 (ranked No. 2 for Workforce)
  • Three N.C. cities on the Next Cities list of 60 U.S. Hotspots for Young, Talented Workers: No. 12 Charlotte under "Super Cities"; No. 9 Durham under "Midsize Magnets"; No. 6 Cary under "Mighty Micros," June 2009 
  • No. 3 Pro-Business State, Pollina Corporate Real Estate, June 2009
  • No. 2 Most Competitive State, Site Selection, May 2009
  • No. 2 Best State for Business by CEOs, Chief Executive magazine, Feb. 2009
  • 2009 CiCi Awards: Two North Carolina economic development projects won Corporate Investment & Community Impact awards -- Spirit Aerosystems of Kinston and Sutter Street Manufacturing in Hickory, Trade and Industry Development magazine, March 2009
  • Best Places for Business and Careers: No. 1 Raleigh, No. 3 Durham, No. 6 Asheville, No. 13 Wilmington, No. 18 Winston-Salem, and No. 19 Charlotte (in the “Best Metros” category); and No. 2 Greenville (in the “Best Small Metros” category), Forbes magazine, March 2009

2008 Accolades

  • No. 1 Best Business Climate seven of the last eight years, Site Selection magazine, Nov. 2008
  • No. 1 State with Small Metropolitan Areas Having the Most New and Expanded Corporate Facilities, Site Selection magazine, March 2008
  • No. 1 Pro Business State, Pollina Corporate Real Estate, Inc. study 
  • No. 1 for Revenue Increases, North Carolina biotech companies, Ernst & Young’s 2008 Global Biotechnology Report rankings
  • No. 2 Best Business Climate, Development Counselors International (DCI), July 2008
  • No. 3 Most Competitive State, Site Selection, May 2008
  • No. 3 Largest Biotech Industry of U.S. States,  Beyond Borders, Ernst & Young, 2007 
  • No. 4 for Biotechnology Strength in Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, Business Facilities magazine, July 2008 
  • No. 4 Best State for Business, Forbes magazine, July 2008
  • No. 6 America’s Top States for Business study, CNBC, July 2008

Carolina Center for Foreign Investment
Alan Ballew
PO Box 2487
101 N. Main Street, Suite 1400
Greenville SC 29602
Phone: (864) 242-5151
Fax: (864) 233-9878

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