TAYLOR, Texas - As a massive Samsung factory takes shape in Taylor, Williamson County is hoping to capitalize on that economic momentum in a big way.
On Tuesday, economic development officials announced they’ve opened a new office in South Korea, to encourage companies there to expand in Central Texas.
The WilCo Economic Development Partnership, a group of elected officials and business leaders from Williamson County, announced that they’ve opened an office 7,000 miles away in Seoul, South Korea.
- Williamson County, state officials sign major computer chip relocation deal
- Samsung plant, local growth plans take shape in Taylor
"The fact that we have boots on the ground in Korea that can actually take care of an issue or introduce themselves fairly quickly is a huge opportunity for Williamson County," said Dave Porter, deputy director the WilCo Economic Development Partnership.
The goal of the office is to identify South Korean companies looking to expand to the United States, and convince them to choose Williamson County.
"So obviously, the impetus for this office is Samsung," said Porter.
Construction on the semiconductor factory in Taylor is set to be done in 2025, with the $17 billion plant expected to bring around 2,000 jobs.
"When we were in Korea back in April, we understood that there were a large number of suppliers to Samsung (TAKE OUT and other industries) that would like to come over," said Porter.
But Porter says lots of other industries are eyeing Williamson County, as well.
"We have an automotive project that we're going to be announcing from Korea next month," said Porter. "Clean tech, solar panels, software, aviation. We're seeing all sorts of projects."
The WilCo office in Korea is essentially a counterpart to a Korean office that opened in Austin in April. South Korea’s state-funded trade organization, KOTRA, moved into a WeWork space on West 12th Street, in order to help foreign computer chip companies navigate relocating to Central Texas.
"We're onshoring here in America with a strong partner from South Korea that's going to protect the people of central Texas and protect the people of America," said Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell.
Fittingly, the new WilCo office will be co-located with KOTRA’s headquarters in Seoul, so representatives for interested companies can simply walk down the hall.
"We're promoting all the different cities in Williamson County as a great place to do business," said Porter.
In September, the WilCo office in Seoul will host a seminar with Williamson County leaders as well as more than 100 Korean companies. The subject: how to do business in Williamson County.