By: Kathleen Henry, Economic Development Manager
Wake County Economic Development
In 2016, Wake County Economic Development (WCED) identified a need to develop a strategic effort around foreign direct investment (FDI) due to increased activity from foreign-owned firms looking to locate within the Research Triangle region, as well as from existing foreign-owned firms investing more money and creating more jobs in our market.
Wake County Economic Development’s FDI strategy has evolved over time to include a committee of 20 key members from our local business community with international expertise. In addition, WCED has selected several target countries based on existing, local connections and overlapping industry and business interests. The committee and our strategic focus on target countries help our organization to effectively and efficiently use resources while marketing the Research Triangle as a strategic U.S. location for foreign-owned firms.
In a recent blog by Business Facilities magazine titled, “Destinations for Foreign Direct Investment: FDI Lives Here,” North Carolina was recognized as a leader in FDI and highlighted as one among six U.S. states and two international locations (Northern Ireland and Toronto) for the amount and diversity of foreign-owned companies choosing to locate in the state. According to the blog, “Over the past ten years, businesses rooted in 42 different countries and 35 different industry sectors have expanded or established new operations in North Carolina, according to fDi Markets. Between 2008-2017, more than 420 foreign parent companies announced projects in the state, and those projects were expected to invest $17.2 billion and create 54,966 new jobs.”
Some of the key assets highlighted in the blog as attributes to this success were the following:
- A fast-growing population (67 people per day in Wake County)
- A strong manufacturing and professional workforce
- A business-friendly tax climate (3% corporate tax, falls to 2.5% in 2019)
- Affordable business operating costs (5.499% personal income tax, 7.25% sales tax)
Four of the six FDI major projects highlighted for North Carolina in 2018 happened in the Research Triangle region:
- Infosys (India), a global leader in technology consulting, choosing Raleigh for a technology and innovation hub that will hire 2,000 employees by 2021.
- Triangle Tyre (China) investing $580 million and creating 800 new jobs for a cutting-edge tire manufacturing plant near Rocky Mount.
- Fresenius Kabi (Germany) expanding its pharmaceutical manufacturing operation in Wilson to create 445 new jobs in a $100 million-plus investment.
- Credit Suisse (Switzerland) investing $70.5 million in a new building at its Research Triangle Park technology hub, which will add 1,200 positions to the roughly 1,700 it already employs in the region.
Wake County and Research Triangle region will continue to attract and retain foreign companies. Through our strategic focus on FDI and our growing partnership with multiple global companies, we will remain active leaders in marketing this region and North Carolina as the best place for foreign investment.
To read the full blog published by Business Facilities Magazine, please click here.