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Samsung to build a U.S. factory

$380 million plant in South Carolina will make home appliances
June 29,2017
Samsung Electronics is investing $380 million in a new home appliances factory in South Carolina, the electronics giant said late Wednesday night in Seoul.

The company insisted the decision was not the result of pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump.

Yoon Boo-keun, CEO of Samsung’s consumer electronics division, signed a letter of intent to build a new factory in Newberry, South Carolina at a hotel in Washington Wednesday. Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina attended the signing ceremony.

Samsung will use the factory to produce washing machines from early next year, not ovens as some media outlets reported. Production may be expanded depending on demand by U.S. consumers though no plan has yet been disclosed. The factory is expected to create 950 new jobs.

Samsung is taking over a site 150 miles from the port of Charleston that was home to a packaging plant for generators used by American heavy equipment maker Caterpillar. According to Samsung, the area offers a trained workforce, well-established distribution chain, transportation infrastructure and active partnerships between companies and in the local community.

“The newly built factory will be a basis for long-term growth in the U.S. home appliances market, the world’s largest,” Samsung said in a statement. According to data by market tracker TraQline, Samsung had a 17.3 percent share of the U.S. home appliances market last year, larger than any other company including local giant Whirlpool and Korean rival LG Electronics. Samsung hopes to continue building market share with the new factory.

The company acquired U.S. luxury home appliances brand Dacor last September, giving it a production base in California for built-in appliances.

Korean companies have been pressured by the Trump administration to build U.S. factories. Amid media reports that Samsung would build a U.S. factory earlier in the year, Trump declared it a fact with a tweet that read, “Thank you, @samsung! We would love to have you!” in February.

But Samsung said it has been considering plans to build a U.S. production facility for the last three years and talks with South Carolina began in the latter half of last year, before Trump took office.

“With the production base we will not only expand business in the U.S. but also build stronger partnerships with U.S. consumers, technicians and companies that are leading global home appliances market trends,” Yoon said.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]