SK Innovation is set to break ground this month on a $940 million factory that will create some 600 jobs.
That would be a coup in any year, but as the pandemic threatens a sustained downturn, the announcement was a particularly welcome shot in the arm for the state.
It also comes on top of the Korean electric-vehicle battery manufacturer’s $1.67 billion and 2,000-job commitment in 2018, which already promises to make SK’s Commerce, Ga., factory the largest single foreign investment project in the the state’s history. (Global Atlanta reported on the new SK factory in April, but the jobs figure had not been released.)
Even amid a year of unprecedented uncertainty, the state has so far in 2020 outpaced last year with projects pledging to create 7,863 jobs (including 4,000 in rural areas) and upward of $2.12 billion in capital spending.
The majority of that has come from outside the U.S., from the $260 million polymer factory Singapore-based RWDC Industries is setting up in Athens, to the $7 million expansion of Japan-based Mytex Polymer’s factory in Covington. Chinese flooring firms aiming to take advantage of a tariff lull have rushed into northwest Georgia, while an Alpharetta tech company decided to bring work home from India with the goal of creating more than 400 jobs.
The moves come as the Georgia Department of Economic Development restructured the team handling foreign investments, streamlining its protocol operation and orienting its project managers around industries rather than countries or linguistic abilities.
That said, the state continues to sustain offices in 12 markets around the world that serve as the tip of the spear for investment recruitment and conduct market research on behalf of Georgia exporters.
For its part, SK Innovation has already begun to show its commitment to the state during the pandemic, donating $400,000 to help create the technology platform by which Georgians can screen themselves for COVID-19 and access drive-through testing clinics.
Plastic film manufacturer SKC Inc., which like SK Innovation is part of the larger SK Group — South Korea’s largest oil refiner — donated 4,400 masks and 180 TYVEK suits to local hospitals and the Newton County Fire Department. It also adapted its factory to serve customers supplying the thicker plastic material used in face shields.
Things have not stagnated on the domestic front, as Frito Lay announced last week a $200 million expansion of its plant in Perry, Ga.
See a list of the state’s achievements for the year, including announcement of its Silver Shovel Award from Area Development magazine, as well as the 18 companies named to the Fortuned 500 and 34 to the Fortune 1000 list, in this blog post.