By Cameron McWhirter in Atlanta And Dinny McMahon in Hangzhou, China
Updated Dec. 22, 2013 3:31 p.m. ET
Zhu Shanqing, who owns a yarn-spinning factory in Hangzhou in China’s Zhejiang province, is struggling with rising costs for labor, energy and land. So he is boxing up some of his spindles and moving.
To South Carolina.
Mr. Zhu is one of a growing number of Asian textile manufacturers setting up production in the U.S. Southeast to save money as salaries, energy and other costs rise at home. His company, Keer Group Co., has agreed to invest $218 million to build a factory in unincorporated Lancaster County, not far from Charlotte, N.C. The new plant will pay half as much as Mr. Zhu does for electricity in China and get local government support, he says. Keer expects to create at least 500 jobs.
There is another benefit. As costs continue to increase in China, Keer can ship yarn to manufacturers in Central America, which, unlike companies in China, can send finished clothes duty-free to the U.S.
The move by Mr. Zhu and others will scarcely revive a once bustling Southern textile industry. But it illustrates how shifts in global trade are creating advantages for U.S.-based manufacturing.