Annual Meeting Explores Asia-Related FDI
Over 330 NCEDA members and guests descended on the Holiday Inn Resort last week in Wrightsville Beach for the organization’s 2018 Annual Conference. The event, presented by LeChase Construction, featured speakers and panels surrounding the theme of “Working Globally. Flourishing Locally.” The gathering also included great food, live music, North Carolina libations, outdoor recreation and a relaxed setting for relationship-building. A special thank you goes out to our Annual Conference sponsors – your support is greatly appreciated! View the conference photo gallery, which includes our sponsor recognition.
“The networking is one of the key reasons I attend NCEDA’s Annual Meeting – just getting to catch up with your peers every year is worthwhile,” says Bob Leak, Jr., president of Winston-Salem Business, Inc. “But this year’s program provided some really valuable updates – especially the Opportunity Zones panel and transportation content.”
Deputy Commerce Secretary Will Miller reported that thus far in 2018, the state had facilitated the creation of 5,100 announced new jobs. “We’re hopeful this year could be another record-breaking year,” Miller told NCEDA members. While unemployment rates are at their lowest level in years, underemployment remains a challenge for many in the workforce. “We’ve got to find a way to get people who are underemployed better jobs.”
The conference program culminated with a panel discussion entitled “Investing in North Carolina: The View from Asia” that featured North Carolina investment representatives from China, Japan and South Korea. The economic success of China’s private sector is now sparking opportunity for foreign direct investment (FDI) in North Carolina. “In recent years Chinese companies are for the first time financially capable of investing in a facility in the US,” said Danny Ding, director of the North Carolina China Office, who is based in Beijing. Exchange-rate fluctuations also are driving Chinese interest in business opportunities here. “The Chinese currency became 10 percent stronger in last six months, and that means companies now save 10 percent on their investment,” said Ding. Hyun-Sook Kim, director of the North Carolina Korea Office, said highlighting Asian companies already in North Carolina is an effective way to attract attention from other potential investors. “Typically, South Korean companies are very cautious. They don’t want to be first,” she said, encouraging economic developers to visibly include the names of existing Asian companies in their global outreach. “That would be very helpful for us,” Kim said.