Foreign Direct Investment in Michigan Reaches $12.7B Since 2011 as Gov. Snyder Leads Trade Mission to China


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Gov. Rick Snyder will lead an investment mission with a local delegation to China this week. In 2018, Michigan ranked third in the nation for the number of investment projects from the country.

Photo by Patrick Gloria

Gov. Rick Snyder will depart this week and lead an investment mission with a local delegation to China. The trip will include meetings with Chinese business leaders and officials and cover such topics as manufacturing, mobility technology, agriculture exports, and tourism.

Overall, 406 foreign direct investment projects were created in Michigan between January 2011 and August 2018, resulting in 51,596 jobs. Those projects generated a total capital investment of $12.7 billion. Additionally, Michigan saw a 24 percent increase in international travel spending from 2011-2017, with international travel spending in Michigan hitting $2.2 billion in 2017.

In 2018, Michigan ranked third in the nation for number of investment projects from China. Michigan also ranked first in the Midwest for number of jobs created by Chinese investment. Since Snyder’s first visit to China in 2011, Michigan received $1.2 billion in new investment from China, resulting in 6,304 jobs for Michigan residents.

“The value of building relationships with other nations cannot be overstated,” says Snyder. “Michigan has benefited immensely from partnerships we have established and strengthened over the last eight years. Incredible advancements in manufacturing, mobility, and agricultural technology are taking shape not just here in Michigan but all over the world, and by matching with foreign companies that have similar goals, we ensure we are partners rather than competitors, creating new jobs for Michiganders and increasing our exports to nations all over the world.”

This trip marks the Snyder administration’s 29th foreign investment mission. Other missions led by Snyder or Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have included France, Japan, South Korea, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Latvia, Israel, Chile, Colombia, India, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Austria, and the United Kingdom.

The missions have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in Michigan by foreign companies, adding thousands of jobs to Michigan’s workforce. Major foreign investments from countries visited by the Governor or Lt. Governor include:

  • Canada: MAGNA – Since 2012, Magna International has announced 4 expansion and 3 new projects across the state investing over $168 million and creating almost 1,500 jobs.
  • Mexico: TREMEC – In June of 2016 the auto transmission manufacturer committed to investing $54 million and creating 133 new jobs with construction of a headquarters in Wixom.
  • Japan: DENSO – In July 2017 the global auto supplier announced plans to expand its North American headquarters in Southfield, investing $75 million and creating 120 jobs.
  • France: NAVYA Inc. – In July 2017 the autonomous vehicle manufacturer announced plans to establish its North American first assembly plant in Saline, investing more than $1 million and creating 50 jobs.
  • United Kingdom: Cosworth – In May 2016 the automotive electronics and powertrain supplier announced plans to establish its first U.S. presence in Shelby Township, investing $30 million and creating 50 jobs.
  • Germany: ZF North America – In June 2015 the leader in driveline and chassis technology announced plans to expand its tech center operations in Northville Township, investing $71 million and creating 571 jobs.
  • Italy: Brembo – In May 2014 the global manufacturer of auto brake systems announced plans to establish a plant in Homer, investing $100 million and creating more than 100 jobs.
  • Germany: Brose – In November 2017 the manufacturer of mechatronic components for vehicle bodies announced plans to further expand its facility in New Boston, investing an additional $105 million and creating 300 additional jobs. This was above its original investment of $97.6 million and creation of 475 jobs.

The relationship building with China has led to a boom in another one of Michigan’s key industries – tourism. The number of international visitors from China between 2011 and 2017 increased 84 percent. International travel spending in Michigan increased 24 percent from 2011 to 2017. In 2017, international travel spending was $2.2 billion, with Chinese visitors spending $354.2 million. They were second only to Canadians, who spent $405 million.

Recent Chinese investments in Michigan that are the result of missions taken by Gov. Snyder include:

  • Guangzhou Automobile Group (July 2018) – Chinese automaker establishing state-of-the-art R&D facility in Farmington Hills, investing $4.4 million and creating 62 jobs.
  • American Haval Motor Technology, LLC (December 2017) – Chinese SUV manufacturer announced plans to establish an R&D center in Farmington Hills, investing $982.4 million and creating 241 jobs.
  • Kingfa Science & Technology (Feb. 2017) – Chinese supplier of engineering plastic resins announced plans to expand its manufacturing operations in Canton Township, investing $60 million and creating 150 jobs.
  • YFS Automotive Systems, Inc. (July 2015) – Tier 1 supplier of fuel tanks for automotive OEMs establishing a manufacturing facility in Romulus, investing $26.9 million and creating 160 jobs.
  • Dicastal North America, Inc. (September 2014) – Manufacturer of aluminum wheels announced plans to open a manufacturing plant in Greenville, investing $140 million and creating 300 jobs.

China is Michigan’s third-largest export market, with exports valued at $3.7 billion in 2011.

Three of the companies participating in the MEDC-led trade mission to China have joined previous China trips. Corrigan Air & Sea Cargo also participated in 2014 and 2016 and the company has seen an increase in sales as a direct result of the trips, according to Corrigan Vice President Michael Murphy.

“We began working with MEDC about five years ago because we wanted to further develop our business in China, but had a difficult time finding the right customers and partners. The MEDC’s International Trade program is well designed, organized, and developed to help companies make the connections to Chinese companies,” Murphy says. “We hope the trade mission programs will be continued after Gov. Snyder leaves office.”

While Snyder is in China, Michigan Department of Agriculture Rural Development Director Gordon Wenk will lead a separate trade mission, helping connect a number of Michigan food and agriculture companies and commodities with Chinese buyers.

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