In late April, CBC Americas Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Japan-based CBC Co. Ltd., announced that it was moving its headquarters from Long Island, New York to Cary, North Carolina. In addition to that move, CBC will also build a distribution facility in the North Carolina Industrial Center located in the city of Mebane, North Carolina. The headquarters and new distribution facility will add 67 and 29 jobs in Wake County and Alamance County, respectively.
Mebane is no stranger to Japanese investment. In June 2014, Japan’s largest candy maker Morinaga Foods broke ground on its first HI-CHEW production facility in the United States. The opening of the facility in Orange County, which incorporates part of Mebane, will bring 90 jobs to the area once it is up and running. With the addition of CBC Americas Corp., there are currently 181 Japanese majority-owned companies that operate subsidiaries throughout North Carolina.
The North Carolina (NC) Japan Center, part of the North Carolina State University’s Office of International Affairs, was integral to CBC’s move. Given the emphasis placed on finding new hires that will be bilingual in English and Japanese, the NC Japan Center has taken the lead in linking up qualified members of North Carolina’s workforce with executives at CBC Americas. The language classes it offers, combined with outreach to Japanese companies and executives both currently in and interested in future cooperation with North Carolina, are paving the way for a smooth transition for CBC Americas over the next five years.
Attracting Japanese investment is just one facet of the strong relationship that North Carolina enjoys with Japan. In 2013, North Carolina exported a total of $2.9 billion worth of goods and services to Japan, representing 22% of its total exports to Asia that year. North Carolina’s 4th congressional district, which encompasses the counties of Wake and Alamance, exported $250 million worth of goods and services to Japan in 2013.
Sarah Batiuk is the Event Coordinator and a Project Assistant at the East-West Center in Washington.