Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe orchestrated Friday's announcement about Hyosung Heavy Industries' plan to locate in Memphis. (Screen capture)

By the first half of 2020, advanced state-of-the-art power transformers are projected to be produced in Memphis by a South Korean manufacturer that specializes in electrical power equipment.

Hyosung Heavy Industries (HICO) will locate its first U.S. production operations in the existing Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. plant at 2865 Riverfront Rd.. According to the Friday morning announcement, HICO will invest $86.9 million and create 410 jobs in Shelby County over the next seven years.

Gov. Bill Lee , Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe joined HICO representatives and an array of local elected and appointed officials in unveiling plans for the production facility.

“HICO is a welcome addition to our steadily growing manufacturing sector in Tennessee,” said Lee said. “I appreciate HICO for creating more than 400 manufacturing jobs in Memphis and Shelby County and look forward to seeing this company’s continued success in our state.”

The HICO announcement comes after Mitsubishi Electric’s November notification that 160 workers at the plant would be layed off.

Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, HICO specializes in manufacturing electrical power equipment such as transformers, switchgear, flexible AC transmission systems and energy storage solutions. The company exports its products to customers around the globe and has been one of the leading manufacturers in the power transformer business for the last 50 years.

“Our team has been actively working with HICO for more than two years,” Rolfe said. “Tennessee continues to see an uptick of foreign-owned companies choosing to locate operations in our state. …”

Tennessee is home to more than 1,000 foreign-owned establishments that employ approximately 150,000 Tennesseans. Korea is among the top 10 countries for foreign investment in Tennessee, with Korean companies investing over $400 million in the state since 2015. According to TNECD, it has supported nearly 80 projects in Shelby County, resulting in the creation of more than11,000 jobs and approximately $4 billion in capital investment since 2025

“The future is bright for Memphis and we look forward to working and growing with the local community as we expand in North America,” said Takeshi Yokota, CEO of Hyosung Heavy Industries.

“This was a multi-faceted agreement, and we would like to express our gratitude to local and state leaders for their support to bring this agreement to fruition. …We look forward to continuing to be a part of the Memphis community for years to come.”

Mayor Jim Strickland noted Lee’s active engagement in bringing about HICO’s move to Memphis.  “I’m excited to welcome HICO to Memphis,” he said, “and look forward to the new investment and jobs they’re bringing with them.”

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris said he had met with leaders of the company, adding that HICO clearly had been successful around the globe.

“It is exciting to see high quality jobs in the manufacturing industry in Shelby County,” said Harris. “We are excited that they will have a significant investment in Shelby County. Also, this sets us up nicely to attract additional industry that will complement HICO.”

Throughout Friday’s announcement were references to multi-level cooperation that also involved TVA, Memphis Shelby County EDGE and the Greater Memphis Chamber.

Beverly Robertson, president & CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber, said, “It is a testament to the strength of our region that we continue to see global brands make big investment in Memphis.”

HICO will operate from a site in the districts of State Sen. Raumesh Akbari and Rep. Barbara Cooper.

“By joining together and remaining committed to developing the skills of Shelby County’s workforce, we’re attracting more good-paying manufacturing jobs for our families,” Akbari said. “The HICO jobs and investment announcement represents the best of what we can accomplish when government works for working people.”

Cooper took note of the projection for “well-paying jobs.”

“While this will not solve all the problems of poverty we face in this city,” she said, “it is certainly a big step in the right direction.”