That fancy Samsung fridge might be made in South Carolina

 

Samsung’s about to expand its manufacturing in the US.

The South Korean giant on Wednesday said it plans to open a new $380 million factory to build home appliances in Newberry County, South Carolina. The facility, which will manufacture premium home appliances for the US market, will eventually employ 954 workers.

 

Samsung said it plans to begin construction on the factory as soon as possible. It’s refurbishing a vacated facility instead of building a new site, which it says will speed construction and minimize its environmental impact. It expects to start building appliances like washing machines later this year.

 

“This new investment will enable Samsung to increase the speed with which we can deliver premium home appliances that reflect the regional preferences of our fastest growing and most important consumer market,” Yoon Boo-Keun, Samsung co-CEO and head of the company’s electronics business, said in a press release.

 

The move comes as Samsung expands its home appliances operations. It’s the world’s biggest TV and phone maker, but it has lagged rivals such as Whirlpool and LG for global appliances sales. In last year’s third quarter, Samsung overtook Whirlpool to become the biggest home appliances vendor in the US by dollar volume, according to market tracker Stevenson Co.

 

US push

 

When it comes to manufacturing, Samsung already has a big presence in the US. The company has spent about $17 billion to operate a massive factory in Austin, Texas, to build semiconductors for use in phones and other devices, and it has partnered with GlobalFoundries on its chip factory in upstate New York. Samsung also employs thousands of people across the United States who help develop and market its phones, TVs, home appliances and other products.

 

Samsung last year bought Dacor, a luxury appliance brand based in California. As part of the acquisition, Dacor kept its name and US operations and manufacturing. Samsung also acquired audio supplier Harman for $8 billion and committed $1.2 billion to US-based R&D and investments for Internet of Things technology. Samsung already operates a call center in Greenville, South Carolina, that employs 800 full time and contracted workers.

 

Samsung’s new home appliances factory had been rumored for awhile. President Donald Trump in February tweeted a report that Samsung planned to expand in the US and said, “Thank you, @Samsung! We would love to have you!” The president has been pressuring companies, including tech giant Apple, to manufacture more of their devices in the US.

Samsung said it started thinking about expanding its US production operations nearly three years ago — during President Barack Obama’s administration — and started talking with South Carolina last fall. It said it selected Newberry County “for its high-skilled workforce, robust supply chain and transportation infrastructure and commitment to public-private partnerships.”

 

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said in a statement that he’s “thrilled to strengthen” his state’s partnership with Samsung. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross added in a statement, “the fact that one of the world’s largest and most respected technology companies is choosing to invest in South Carolina speaks volumes about the innovation and excellence our talented workforce is capable of.”

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