Daikin Industries —the top global manufacturer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) — opened the Daikin Texas Technology Park (DTTP) near Houston in late May. The DTTP will be Daikin’s new headquarters in North America. Two other plants around the Houston area will be consolidated into the DTTP by the end of 2018.
Osaka-based Daikin has actively expanded its investment in North America after acquiring Houston-based Goodman Manufacturing in 2012. The company invested $417 million to construct this new campus in Texas, which consists of over four million square feet, and is the largest tilt-wall structure and the second-largest manufacturing facility in North America. The new buildings are energy efficient and have been awarded LEED Gold Certification by the US Green Building Council.
The Houston area is strategically important for Daikin due to the advanced HVAC industry, rapid population growth, and access to a local high-skilled workforce. The direct and indirect impact of brand-new facilities will be significant for the local economy, creating nearly 5,000 direct American jobs and bringing in approximately $4 billion annually.
This continues the trend of deepening economic ties between Texas and Japan. Texas, with the second-largest GDP in the United States, led the nation in exports from 2002 through 2015. Japan was the sixth greatest destination for Texas exports in 2015, and has recently strengthened trade relations: in 2016, Japan was the nineth largest source country of the state’s international imports. As of 2014, Japan was the number 4 source country for foreign direct investment projects in Texas.
Located in Houston’s Waller County, the DTTP is expected to expand Daikin’s education and training partnership in the region. According to Kari Durham, senior vice president of human resources at Goodman Manufacturing, it has encouraged welding teachers of Waller Independent School District (ISD) to bring students to the facilities.
Yeo-Ri Kim is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a Master's candidate in Global Policy Studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas.