A record year for Georgia’s business attraction efforts was led by international investment, which accounted for two-thirds of the $24 billion in capital pledged toward 426 projects in the state during the fiscal year ended June 30.
That’s according to a new annual report from the Georgia Department of Economic Development that also said 47 percent of 38,400 jobs announced came from foreign subsidiaries.
Most of the approximately $15.6 billion in foreign capital investments committed were gleaned from the automotive sector, driven primarily by the transition to electric vehicles and the South Korean OEMs and parts suppliers powering it.
Late in 2022, Hyundai broke ground on its $5.54 billion plant near Savannah, then in May announced that it would partner with LG Energy Solution on its on-site battery plant. The Bryan County “Metaplant,” as Hyundai calls its site, has also drawn nearly $2 billion worth of additional supplier investments, either co-located on the 2,900-acre property or in nearby communities. Also during the course of the year, Hyundai revealed that total investment planned for a separate Cartersville EV battery plant built in partnership SK with would top $5 billion.
All told, Hyundai-affiliated projects, including suppliers, accounted for about half of the investment total in fiscal year 2023. The auto maker recently announced a multi-decade partnership with Georgia Tech that ESPN reported will include a $55 million deal for naming rights at what will now be called Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field. The deal includes a hydrogen research initiative and a previously announced $120,000 scholarship fund.
Rivian, the California-based auto startup with plans to put a factory in Covington, accounted for another $5 billion commitment, another sign of breakneck growth in the auto sector, where job creation has grown four-fold in two years. The state pointed to an electric-mobility initiative launched under Gov. Brian Kemp.
But the state was quick to point out that Hyundai and Rivian were not the only sources of vitality. Even removing both of what in any other year would be considered generational investments, the state still eclipsed last year’s record job-creation figure by 2,800 positions.
That was largely thanks to other clean-energy projects initiated by foreign firms. Norway’s Freyr Battery is set to put a $2.4 billion energy storage plant in Coweta County, and Finland’s ADMARES said it would bulid a $750 million modular housing plant in Waycross. These deals put the two Scandinavian countries among the top-five investors in the state this year, behind Korea and in front of perennial powerhouses Switzerland, Japan and the Netherlands.
Another transformative cleantech project, the $2.5 billion Q CELLS expansion in Cartersville from Korea’s Hanhwa, was announced in January. Executives credited the solar production incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act for providing an attractive regulatory framework.
The state’s Global Commerce figures come with an important caveat: While many of the announced expansion projects are well under way, most are multi-year projects that don’t commence production until years into the future. That means that as market conditions and company plans change, the actual number of jobs created and capital deployed may not necessarily match up with initial pledges. In those cases, states can use “clawback” provisions to recoup some tax incentives calculated on the baseline level of jobs and capital investment.