Oakland County was sending a team of economic developers to Washington, D.C., June 10-12 for the SelectUSA Investment Summit to meet with international companies interested in expanding here.
SelectUSA is a high-profile event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. It attracts companies from all over the world, economic development organizations from across the country and other parties working to facilitate business investment in the United States. Oakland County remains a preferred destination for significant international investment.
“In the past, a lot of FDI has come from automotive — we have 56 of the top 100 global Tier 1 automotive suppliers making Oakland County their North American home,” said County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “The mobility and autonomous vehicle technologies being developed here are evolving quickly and Oakland County is aggressively courting global technology companies looking to be part of that evolution.”
Foreign direct investment in Oakland County in 2018 — investment from a company that is headquartered outside the United States — was $336 million, accounting for 3,850 new and retained jobs. The county has realized foreign investment in the past five years of more than $1.5 billion.
“This event provides us with an excellent opportunity to meet companies from all over the world,” said Ryan Cram, manager of business development. “We have attended since inception of the event and in the recent years we have increased our team’s presence. In 2018 the team acquired 11 new leads as a result of this event.”
The 32 successful international business projects in 2018 resulted in $336 million of investment by companies new to the county or expanding an existing location. The countries of origin for 2018 international business successes include five from Germany; four each from China and Japan; three from the United Kingdom, two each from India and Korea and one each from Belgium, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Sweden and Switzerland. Oakland County has about 1,100 global firms from 39 countries.
Significant international investment in 2018 came from Samsung SDI America, Inc. ($68 million), Kostal Kontakt Systeme Inc. ($57 million), FANUC America Corp. ($51 million), Zeiss Inc. ($45 million), Delphi Technologies/Aptiv ($20 million), WABCO Holdings ($19.5 million), Orotex Corp. ($10.3 million) and Nachi Robotic Systems, Inc. ($12.2 million). The total investment from those companies was $283 million, resulting in 2,329 new and retained jobs.
To attract businesses, the county’s business development team works closely with Emerging Sectors® companies, helping with site selection, workforce development, financing strategies and coordinating state and local incentives. The team activity focuses on Emerging Sectors companies as well as more traditional businesses such as automotive.
Targeted sectors include advanced electronics and control systems; advanced materials, chemicals and nanotechnology; aerospace; alternative energy; communications and IT; defense/homelandsecurity; film and digital media; F.I.R.E. (finance, insurance, real estate); Medical Main Street/healthcare; and robotics.
The most successful sectors in total investment from 2004 to present are Medical Main Street/healthcare ($1.3 billion); advanced electronics and control systems ($1 billion); Tech248/communications and IT ($841 million); alternative energy ($634 million); advanced materials, chemicals and nanotechnology ($414 million); and aerospace ($408 million).
Since inception, Emerging Sectors has had 524 business successes resulting in total investment of more than $5 billion and over 89,000 new and retained jobs. A success is a company that is either new to Oakland County or expanded here when it considered moving to another state or country.
“This is a sector of our economy that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but this is a significant source of jobs and tax revenue,” Patterson said. “Oakland County gets more investment than many states and rest assured we’re going to press forward with this program.”
In 2019, the county business development team will be attending trade missions, investment summits and trade shows located in key FDI countries such as Germany, Japan, China, France, Canada, India and Italy to tout the advantages of locating in Oakland County.
In 2018, the county assisted in business expansion, attraction and retention investment of over $612 million, resulting in approximately 10,000 created and retained jobs.