Williamson County, state officials sign major computer chip relocation deal

South Korea officially opened a new business incubator in downtown Austin to help attract more companies in the semiconductor industry.

Formal agreements were signed Thursday afternoon. The deals were made by the state of Texas, as well as Williamson County, with a group called KOTRA (The Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency).

The agency is the South Korean government's nonprofit, which helps business from that country expand globally. The office space in Austin, which is in the WeWork building, is a block away from the State Capitol and is called the Korea Semiconductor Global Partnering Center.

The focus of the site is to help companies with the computer chip industry move to Texas and navigate what can be a difficult re-location process. This is a direct result of the new Samsung plant that’s being built in Taylor


Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell told FOX 7 that having these companies here will improve a critical supply chain exposed as being a weak link during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I believe that we're on-shoring, I think from a nation that concerns me, from China," said Judge Gravell. "We're on-shoring 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 right here in Taylor."

Protecting the supply chain is a national concern, but local residents are also worried about how rural Williamson County is becoming more urban. Judge Gravell says he understands that concern. 

"This is about a strategic plan to bring in the right type of businesses where it's just not chaos and they land everywhere in," said Judge Gravell.


The GP Center can be a communication link, in a way, for local leaders. Taylor mayor Brandt Rydell, told FOX 7 that city leaders have a plan to help manage the growth the new businesses will bring.

"In terms of preserving things in Taylor, the character, we know we're going to grow, we know things aren't going to be the way they were 50 years ago," said Rydell. "But I think we have a good plan, with the city of Taylor. And we're going to be very disciplined and strategic about how we play this out."

KOTRA has 126 offices in 85 counties. One of the main hubs is in Dallas, where they've been since 1969, and that site will be linked to the office here in Austin. Companies that use this center are expected to stay for about a year before moving into more permanent locations.