China-based textile company Keer Group will invest $218 million to establish its first manufacturing facility outside its homeland in Lancaster County, South Carolina. The company expects to create 501 jobs within five years.
Keer will construct and operate a 230,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Indian Land, located in Lancaster County. There the company will produce industrial cotton yarn, taking advantage of South Carolina’s location within the heart of the nation’s cotton-producing region. Keer expects to break ground on the facility in early February, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
“During our search, South Carolina quickly rose to the top of our list,” said Zhu Shan Qing, chairman of Keer Group. “We chose to locate our first U.S. facility in South Carolina for a number of reasons, which include the state’s workforce, proximity to cotton producers and access to the port. We look forward to a successful partnership with the state and the local community as we get this facility up and running during the next year.”
Chairman Zhu added that South Carolina’s China Office played an important role in introducing the company to the state. “Through Mr. Ling Xinwei (John Ling) from the South Carolina Department of Commerce China Office, we became introduced to South Carolina’s capabilities and assets, which helped make this project a reality,” Zhu said.
“Keer’s commitment to our state is a strong testament to South Carolina’s pro-business environment and capable and ready workforce,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “We welcome Keer to South Carolina and celebrate their $218 million investment that will create 501 jobs in Lancaster County.”
“South Carolina has long been a strong player in both manufacturing and foreign-direct investment,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “Foreign-owned companies employ more than 100,000 South Carolinians today and are located in nearly every county. China represents an opportunity to continue that growth trend.”
The state’s logistics capabilities was an important driver of the company’s decision, and yarn produced in Keer’s facility will be exported in containers to China via the Port of Charleston, Department of Commerce officials said.
“The South Carolina Ports Authority is pleased to fulfill the Keer Group’s export needs through the Port of Charleston’s eight direct service routes to China,” said Jim Newsome, President and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. “The Southeast region, and South Carolina in particular, continues to see export growth driven by manufacturing, and Keer’s major investment signals its potential to soon become one of our state’s largest exporters.”
“The Keer project is one of the single largest industrial investments in the history of Lancaster County and the more than 500 textile jobs will provide a much needed boost to our local economy,” said Larry McCullough, Chairman of Lancaster County Council. “For over 100 years Lancaster County was a leader in the textile industry and with the addition of Keer’s new manufacturing facility we can once again be a leader in the industry for decades to come. We are very excited and honored to have Keer America as our newest business partner in Lancaster County.”
“We are so honored and excited about this wonderful opportunity to work with Keer Group and bring high value textile jobs and this major investment to Lancaster County,” said Keith Tunnell, President of the Lancaster County Economic Development Corporation.