Because of its pro-business policies and growing workforce, many investors have chosen to set up operations in the Aiken, Edgefield, McCormick and Saluda Region of South Carolina, located only a two-hour drive away from major cities, like Charleston, Atlanta and Charlotte. 

The region’s largest foreign investors have come from Japan, among them automotive parts makers Aiken Precision Technologies and Newman Technologies. But the area’s flagship investment has to be Bridgestone Tires, which opened its first production facility in Aiken County in 1997. 

In 2011, Bridgestone expanded its facility by an additional 470,000 square feet to meet the rising demand for passenger car and light truck radial tires. Then, in September 2011, the Japanese giant announced the construction of a new 1.5 million-square-foot plant in Aiken to produce its off-road tires.

Bridgestone’s two projects have a total value of $2.2 billion, the largest capital investment made by a single company in the history of South Carolina. Having marked more than two decades of operations in the region, the company received a citation from the Economic Development Partnership for its contributions to the community. 

“Every Bridgestone plant manager was awarded Ambassador for Economic Development by the SC State Department for Commerce,” Economic Development Partnership President and CEO Will Williams said.

Last year, the two Bridgestone plants were accepted into the South Carolina Environmental Excellence Program because of efforts to expand their recycling, conservation  and community support programs.

“Our Japanese companies have been a great addition to our local community. We’re very grateful of their presence,” said Williams, who is working to attract more Japanese companies to the burgeoning region.

“Rest assured that the same level of care and service we have given to our present Japanese tenants will be accorded to future Japanese investors,” he added.