Governor Eric Holcomb and a delegation that includes Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers and Purdue University officials are in Asia as part of the state’s amped-up efforts to attract investment from semiconductor and electric vehicle battery companies. The week-long economic development trip begins Monday in Taiwan, home to some of the world’s largest semiconductor companies. Holcomb is the first U.S. governor to visit Taiwan in three years and believes Indiana can become a center for semiconductor research and production.
“I would go so far as to say I know that we can, and we are, because we are on that path right now,” said Holcomb, in an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick recorded before the trip. “We’ll be talking to industry giants,” said Holcomb. “That Indiana seeks to be a leader in this space and these industries of the future is not just on a slick flyer, we want to triple down and part of going to Taiwan will be to sell the state of Indiana and to show all that we have to offer.”
The trip will include the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Taiwan and Indiana, creating a framework to remove barriers to trade and investment. The MOU is similar to one signed with the United Kingdom in May at the state’s first Global Economic Summit.
The delegation will also visit South Korea for meetings with business and government leaders and a focus on electric vehicle battery production.
The trip comes on the heels of major economic development announcements the Governor believes are the beginning of what could be a wave of tech investment in the state.
In June, Taiwan-based MediaTek Inc., the world’s fourth-largest semiconductor company, announced plans to establish a chip design center on Purdue University’s West Lafayette campus, its first partnership with an American university. It will focus on chip design in engineering education, as well as joint research into next-generation chips.
MediaTek employs more than 19,000 people worldwide and plans to begin hiring for electrical engineering and chip design positions in West Lafayette soon.
Less than a month later, Minnesota-based SkyWater Technology (Nasdaq: SKYT) announced plans to build a $1.8 billion semiconductor R&D and production facility at Purdue’s Discovery Park, a project expected to create 750 jobs over five years.
SkyWater bills itself as the only U.S.-investor owned pure-play semiconductor and technology foundry. The company has approximately 600 employees and went public in April 2021, raising nearly $100 million in its initial public offering.
Speaking with reporters after the announcement, SkyWater Chief Executive Officer Thomas Sonderman said he believes, over time, Indiana can become the “Silicon Heartland.”
Purdue’s College of Engineering Dean Mark Lundstrom is part of the Asian delegation and will be participating in meetings in Taiwan. Purdue President-elect Mung Chiang will join the delegation when it arrives in South Korea.
While in Seoul, the group will meet with executives from numerous companies, including Samsung.
In May, Stellantis (NYSE:STLA) and Samsung SDI announced plans for a $2.5 billion joint venture electric vehicle battery plant in Kokomo that is expected to create 1,400 jobs.
The plant will supply batteries for a range of electric vehicles produced at Stellantis’ assembly plants throughout North America, and the investment could grow to $3.1 billion as the automaker ramps up EV production.
Additionally, Inside Indiana Business has confirmed a massive electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant could be coming to St. Joseph County.
Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between General Motors Co. and LG Energy Solution, has filed a tax abatement application with the county for a facility in New Carlisle. Based on investments in similar projects elsewhere, it could mean a more than $2 billion investment and more than 1,000 jobs.
In a statement, Ultium spokesperson Brooke Waid confirmed the company is “developing a competitive business case for a potential large investment that could be located in New Carlisle” and that the tax abatement application was filed.
“Ultium Cells, with the support of GM officials, are in discussions with the appropriate local officials on the abatement application,” Waid said. “We look forward to the application being reviewed and hopefully approved later this month. Securing an approved tax abatement is a critical step of the project moving forward. We are not going to disclose any additional details of the projects than those included in the abatement application.”
If approved, the project would be built in the Indiana Enterprise Center development area near New Carlisle.
The Asian trade trip is Holcomb’s 12th as governor and will conclude August 27.
According to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, Indiana is home to 1,050 foreign-owned businesses, including 10 based in Taiwan and 12 in South Korea.