Chinese factory brings textile boom to South Carolina

Updated 2017-03-30 14:01:30

A Chinese company is being hailed for bringing textile manufacturing back to the U.S. state of South Carolina, and along with it a wealth of jobs and business opportunities.

Keer Group, a Chinese textile company, opened its first facility outside China in the state in February 2013, and the move has reignited interest in the industry, with more than 20 Chinese companies following suit as of 2016.

Keer's chairman Zhu Shanqing noted they have brought investment and jobs to the local economy.

“We promised the government of South Carolina that we would invest 200 million U.S. dollars and create at least 500 new jobs within five years. I think the second facility will be put into production at the end of 2017. By that time, our commitment to the local government will be realized ahead of schedule,” Zhu said.

The Keer Group selected Lancaster county in South Carolina, a state with a population of four million people

Zhu said the company was attracted by the cheap resources, raw materials, preferential tax subsidies and mature financial tools available in the U.S., as well as China's preferential policies which encourage enterprises to go global.

“Every year, we can receive at least four million yuan of subsidies in cash, which is the so-called discount. Secondly, after going global, we can enjoy low interest rates overseas. Two years ago, our company put forward a slogan: 'The U.S. will be the major battlefield for textile development, with China as the base',” said Zhu.

South Carolina commerce official Amy Thomson said Keer has brought back textile manufacturing to the state after the industry had moved offshore.

“Since then (2011) we had 850 billion dollars of investment from Chinese companies creating over 2,000 jobs. That is a big impact for our small state. You know, textiles was a very big part. It's still a big part of our state. And of course, in the 1980s, textile manufacturing went offshore to Latin America, then to Asia. It's interesting how it's coming back to the United States. And they brought very good, well-paid jobs to our state. We're very appreciative of that,” Thomson said.

Sino-U.S. trade volume grew from 2.5 billion dollars to approximately 520 billion dollars over the past three decades, while mutual investment exceeded 170 billion dollars by the end of 2016.

Statistics from the U.S.-China Business Council show trade and investment with China supported about 2.6 million jobs in the United States in 2015.

Official data shows that as of the end of 2016, non-financial investment in the U.S. by Chinese companies amounted to around 50 billion U.S. dollars, which created nearly 100,000 jobs across the country.

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