China has long been a manufacturing superstar, but that trend is being reversed in one industry. Yarn production has become cheaper and more efficient in the US than China, and Chinese textile manufacturers are taking the unlikely step of opening factories in the States to capitalize on the opportunity. Keer, a textile company based in Hangzhou, recently opened a cotton mill in South Carolina's Lancaster County. “The reasons for Keer coming here?" asks chairman Zhu Shanqing, per the New York Times. "Incentives, land, the environment, the workers." Rising import quotas and logistical, salary, and energy costs have made yarn production inefficient in China.
In the US, skilled people are unemployed following the closure of factories in working-class towns across the country. Keer's South Carolina facility is a $218 million investment in the economy, and is expected to create more than 500 jobs, according to the state's Department of Commerce. “For over 100 years, Lancaster County was a leader in the textile industry," says Lancaster County Council chairman Larry McCullough. "With the addition of Keer’s new manufacturing facility we can once again be a leader in the industry for decades to come." The factory produces about 85 tons of yarn per day, which is then sold to textile companies across Asia.