Oakland County attracted $171 million of foreign direct investment in 2014, prompting the county’s business development team to expand its global search for companies looking to locate in the county.
The business development team has trips planned to Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan and Taiwan in 2015. Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb will be joining Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on a trade mission to China in August. The team will also be attending the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington D.C. in March as it partners with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. in the Michigan booth, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.
“Clearly Oakland County is a multi-national investment destination,” Patterson said. “More than 25 percent of our total investment for 2014 is from international investors. They come from around the world, make significant financial commitments and create hundreds if not thousands of jobs. This international investment is a perfect hedge for U.S. investment. They play off each other extremely well.”
More than 40 countries are expected at SelectUSA, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce and is held to encourage international investment in the United States. The attendee list is limited to 2,400 people and not everyone one applies is granted access to the two-day event.
“We applaud the Department of Commerce for organizing such an important event as SelectUSA and appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to sell potential investors on our state,” said Irene Spanos, who directs the county’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. “We are excited about the event.”
The county has long prided itself on the international diversity of its business investment. More than 1,000 international firms from 38 countries have business locations in Oakland County. In 2014, more than two international businesses a month either expanded or located in Oakland County.
Thirty companies invested a total of more than $171 million – more than a quarter of the $639 million total business investment in the county for the year. The investment created 1,941 jobs.
“We are focusing on companies who have expressed a desire to locate in the United States – automotive, tech and medical device companies,” Spanos said. “Michigan is at the western end of the Eastern Time Zone, which makes it attractive to many businesses. It’s our job to sell them on our many assets and Oakland County’s strategic location.”
Spanos said Faurecia, a French tier one auto supplier in Auburn Hills, established an office in Oakland County about 15 years ago and staffed it with two employees. The company now has 700 employees.
“We’ve been doing this for 20 years,” Spanos said. “Companies get everything they need here from what their business needs to what their family needs. We travel the world in search of these companies. And when they get here, we partner with them.”
Among the significant international deals that came to Oakland County in 2014:
China: H.A. Automotive Systems announced plans to purchase a building in Troy to establish its headquarters, manufacturing plant and research and development facility. The project will generate a total capital investment of $28.8 million and create 368 jobs. H.A. Automotive is the North American subsidiary of Shanghai Changhui Industry Development Co., an automotive lighting components supplier established in 1994 and headquartered in China. H.A. Automotive, along with its parent, has secured new contracts to supply North American automotive OEMs and needs to establish a presence near them.
India: Mahindra North American Technical Center, Inc., The company recently located in a newly renovated facility in Troy. It plans to invest nearly $2 million and create up to 112 new professional and engineering services-related jobs. The center is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mahindra USA, Inc. Mahindra USA, Inc. is owned by Mahindra & Mahindra, Ltd., a Mumbai, India-based publicly owned conglomerate. The Troy center will design, develop and prototype complete vehicle designs to facilitate Mahindra & Mahindra’s expansion into automotive markets worldwide.
South Korea: Inzi Controls Detroit, a subsidiary of South Korea-based Inzi Controls Co. Ltd., plans to open a $4.1 million manufacturing plant in Rochester Hills. The company makes sensors and engineering plastics along with interior parts for several automakers. Inzi plans to create 61 jobs.
Japan: Hirotec America Inc. is expanding in Auburn Hills. The company, a subsidiary of Hiroshima, Japan-based Hirotec Corp., specializes in the engineering and manufacture of automotive parts and assembly systems. The expansion is expected to generate up to $26 million in new capital investment and create 140 jobs.
Japan: Hirata Corp. of America, headquartered in Indianapolis with operations in Wixom, is a subsidiary of Hirata Corp. of Japan. The company designs and manufactures advanced robotic production facilities, primarily for the automotive and semiconductor industries. The company plans to expand into a larger facility in Lyon Township, investing up to $2 million and creating 39 jobs.
France: AdduXi Group, a French precision molder chose Rochester Hills as the site for its first U.S. factory. The company plans to invest $5 million – $6 million and create 40 jobs in the next two years.