As states in the Deep South continue attracting more families and businesses because of the lower cost of living, higher quality of life and friendly population, the phrase “Southern hospitality” has ceased to become a hollow cliche. Evidence of this is the decision of Japanese auto giants Toyota and Nissan to build their assembly plants in Mississippi a few years ago.

“Since Gov. Phil Bryant came into office in 2012, Japanese companies have invested more than $800 million in the state, resulting in the employment of more than 15,000 Mississippians. Japan is the state’s largest investor, while the country is among Mississippi’s top five trading partners,” Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr. said.

By being in the Deep South, Japanese companies in Mississippi are in a strategic location to deliver their products and services across the entire United States in a cost-effective manner. The state has much build-ready land ideal for factories and distribution centers.

In 2018, Mississippi announced 14 sites across the state under its Site Development Grant Program, and a few years previously, unveiled two interstate highways, I-22 and I-269, which will serve as a crucial links between Canada and Mexico via the state.

The state also has a huge skilled workforce and business-friendly policies that ensure the long-term feasibility of any business. Bryant, who was reelected to a second term in 2016, made the lowering of taxes and utility costs a cornerstone of his program.

“As a matter of fact, Mississippi’s electricity cost is 10 percent lower than the national average. Gov. Bryant and I ensure that Japanese companies that are already in the state are winning, both human resources-wise and cost-wise,” McCullough said.

“We’re proud to be the home of both Toyota and Nissan assembly plants. Their recent expansion means more confidence in doing business here. And we welcome more Japanese companies in Mississippi, where they can take advantage of monozukuri (manufacturing) excellence in America,” he also said.