RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Toyota announced an $8 billion investment towards its Randolph County electric battery manufacturing site, with plans to add an additional 3,000 jobs. The move brings the automaker's total investment at the site to $13.9 billion.
"Financially, that is the single largest direct foreign investment that has been made in North Carolina in history," said Gov. Cooper.
The pledge comes shortly after the Governor returned from a trip to Japan, as state leaders continue to try and attract green energy businesses.
"This is where the money is. This is where the private markets are going is clean transportation. Why can't North Carolina be at the front of that," said Cooper.
There are more than 1,200 international companies that operate in North Carolina, including more than 700 in Wake County. According to Global Business Alliance, a non-profit advocacy group, Japanese-based companies account for the most direct foreign investment across the country.
"Today's announcement is yet another validation of North Carolina's national recognition a hub for innovation, and a top location for electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. Japanese investment has a significant impact in our state, with more than 28,000 North Carolinians going to work for Japanese companies every day. We value and appreciate the ongoing partnership our state has with Japan and the economic impact this partnership will continue to have," said Christopher Chung, CEO at the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, in a written statement shared with ABC 11.
More than 300,000 North Carolinians work for internationally-owned companies, with more jobs set to be added. Cooper cited incentives and the local workforce as two key reasons why companies have come to the area.
"I'd say the key reasons why this is such an attractive place to live and work are our university and our education system. The talent coming out of both the universities and the community college system. It's the pro-business climate. It's the quality of life. It's the low cost of living. All of those are a recipe for success," said Ryan Combs, Executive Director for Research Triangle Regional Partnership.
Combs also said the recent additions of international flights, including Air France's inaugural trip this week, can help further that growth.
"From an economic development standpoint, from a business standpoint, having direct connectivity to markets, especially internationally, is crucial. It's going to allow us to really attract more companies from Europe. And we're starting to look at South America as another gateway destination for the triangle. But that's vitally important for us," said Combs.
It will also make travel easier for local companies like Sciencix.
"We have customers in more than 100 countries," said Dr. Raj Bhandari, the President of the Cary-based company. Bhandari relocated the company's headquarters from Minnesota to the Triangle four years ago, in part due to the scale of global trade in the area.
"RTP stood out because of all the resources, all the technology, all the companies out here. And it's a very biotech pharma-friendly atmosphere here," Bhandari explained.
He added the presence of companies like Google and Amazon have aided smaller businesses, making it easier to connect with international clients.
"The global perspective here with what RTP offers is we can kind of coordinate and work with each other, create a better product, a better technology and better resources for the customers," Bhandari noted.
Earlier this year, Sciencix was recognized as the 2023 US Small Business Association Exporter of the Year, as Bhandari met with President Biden.
"The reason I came to America is it's a land of opportunities. You can be whoever you want to become in America. I'm a living example of I'm living the American dream. I just love it here and I love all the people, this amazing business community," said Bhandari, who grew up in Nepal prior to moving to the United States to attend school.