Expert: Fuyao could attract other Chinese companies

Fuyao Glass America’s new production facility in Moraine is a “marquee investment” that could help the region attract additional China-based companies, a foreign direct investment expert said Thursday in Dayton.

Chinese auto glass manufacturer Fuyao plans to hire 1,550 workers and invest a total of $360 million in the former General Motors assembly plant in Moraine, where it purchased 1.2 million square feet of space for $15 million in May 2014. Production at the plant is expected to start this summer.

Fuyao “is like a cannonball at the deep end of the pool in terms of being a brand ambassador for the Dayton region in China,” said Aaron S. Brickman, senior vice president of strategy and development, Organization for International Investment. The Washington D.C.-based non-profit business association represents the U.S. operations of many of the world’s leading global companies.

“It will have so much meaning when that grand opening happens to the rest of the Chinese business community and to the rest of the supply chain for Fuyao, regardless of where they come from. Every other region would love to have that investment,” Brickman said.

Brickman was a keynote speaker at the I-70/75 Development Association’s 13th annual Economic Development Summit. The event attracted about 200 public and private development professionals to the Sinclair Community College Conference Center in downtown Dayton.

U.S. subsidiaries of global companies play a vital role in Ohio’s economy, accounting for 224,000 jobs, or 5 percent of the state’s private sector workforce, according to OFII data. Manufacturing is the largest industry for foreign investors, representing more than 55 percent of jobs at U.S. subsidiaries in Ohio.

China’s investment in the U.S. is projected to grow from 80,000 jobs to 200,000-400,000 jobs by 2020.

“Having arguably the marquee investment from China in this region gives you an obvious leg up, if that’s part of your strategy,” Brickman said.

Foreign investment supports more than 20,000 jobs in the Dayton-Springfield region, according to a 2014 Brookings Institution report. Global companies with operations in the region also include Honda, MAHLE Behr Dayton, BAE Systems, and LexisNexis parent company Reed Elsevier.

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