South Korean electronics powerhouse Samsung has opened its first US manufacturing and R&D facility in South Carolina. The manufacturing facility, a $380 million endeavor, was officially announced in June 2017, following an agreement establishing a partnership between Samsung and the South Carolina government. The facility focuses on home appliances production, while also serving as a hub for research and development. This large investment is a key component to Samsung’s expansion on US holdings and operations, and is expected to create 1000 local jobs by the year 2020. The facility, located in Newberry County, officially opened on January 12. The opening was attended by both Samsung and state leaders, including Hyun Suk Kim, President and Head of CE (Consumer Electronics) Division of Samsung Electronics, US Senator for South Carolina Tim Scott, and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
Samsung aims to make South Carolina its US hub for all operations pertaining to home appliances, from conceptualization and production all the way to distribution and customer service. South Carolina was chosen because the state demonstrated a strong belief in the power of innovation, which aligns with Samsung’s vision, and provided a readily-available and skilled workforce. To date, the South Korean company has hired more than 600 US employees for the new South Carolina plant, many of whom are local to Newberry County. The facility itself has begun production on washing machines, and aims to produce one million washing machines in 2018.
In addition to the new South Carolina facility, Samsung has demonstrated greater efforts to invest in the United States, with investments over the past 18 months reaching $10 billion. These investments include expansion on Samsung’s Austin Semiconductor facility, and acquisition of Connecticut-based HARMAN International. This is in line with Samsung’s focus and commitment to the United States, as they have created 20,000 jobs for US employees in the past 40 years, and highlights South Korea’s investment in the United States. Similar efforts are also demonstrated by South Carolina, which exported a total of $847 million worth of goods and services to South Korea in 2016.
Karunia "Karin" Silitonga is a research intern at the East-West Center in Washington and a recent graduate of Baylor University.