Though new to U.S. manufacturing, JinTech already supplies parts for the 2021 Kia Sorento through a partnership with Yanfeng, the Chinese-owned company that vacated the West Point plant in 2019.

A South Korean auto parts supplier is taking over a Harris County factory vacated by another foreign-affiliated company, restoring local jobs lost when it closed in June 2019. 

Asan, Korea-based JinTech America is to invest $4.5 million into a facility at 1700 South Progress Parkway in West Point, which for years has been associated with making automotive interior parts.

The 45,000-square-foot plant sits just down the road from Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia, the massive Korean-owned plant that Jin-Tech, which also has a company registered in Auburn, Ala., has been supplying via importation.  

“JinTech is eager for further opportunities to become a more prominent global automotive supplier with this expansion to the United States,” said JinTech America plant President Jinsik Son in a news release. 

The 70 new positions JinTech plans to create match almost exactly the job losses cited by Chinese-owned Yanfeng Global Automotive Interiors in a notice to the Georgia Department of Labor last year. The company moved 71 positions to a plant in McCalla, Ala. 

According to news reports, Yanfeng launched a $7.5 billion joint venture with Johnson Controls in 2014 and continued that relationship when the latter’s automotive seat business was spun off into a separate publicly traded company, Adient, in 2016. Adient in January sold off its 30 percent stake in Yanfeng for $379 million and reoriented their global partnership. 

A news release from Gov. Brian Kemp’s office mentions Yanfeng, which operates plants near other automakers in Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee, as a partner for JinTech, working with it to supply parts for the Georgia-made Kia Sorento. JinTech also counts Hyundai and General Motors among its customers, according to the release. 

Korean companies have been on an investment tear in Georgia this year, headlined by the $2.6 billion promised SK Battery plant in Commerce. Other wins range from a $700,000 HVAC company expansion to a $240 million transmission plant, also in West Point. 

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...