Business Sectors

South Carolina’s business sectors are a key component of the state's economic success and allow the Palmetto State to remain competitive. Thanks to the state’s business-friendly environment, a multitude of industry sectors have long found that South Carolina provides the perfect complement to their strategic business plan. South Carolina's major business sectors include:


Recognized as a leader in manufacturing in the Southeast, South Carolina is putting its expertise to work for the aerospace industry. These companies are widely distributed throughout the state and include Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Honeywell and 3D Systems. In addition, The Boeing Company's current South Carolina facilities manufacture and assemble fuselage components for the company’s 787 Dreamliner. In 2009, Boeing announced it will locate the company’s second final assembly plant for the 787 Dreamliner program in North Charleston. Construction is currently underway, and the new plant is expected to be operational in 2011.

Alternative Energy

There are exciting developments occurring in South Carolina’s energy industry. Rollcast Energy is developing South Carolina’s first commercial biomass plant, using wood waste. When the plant comes online, Santee Cooper, a state-owned utility and the state’s largest power producer, will purchase the electricity. Santee Cooper has four landfill biogas power generating stations. Additionally, the largest publicly operated biomass facility in the nation is being built at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site in Aiken.

Greenville is a principal engineer location for GE's wind energy business and is also the headquarters for GE Energy Engineering Infrastructure. Timken, Kaydon and ILJIN America make wind turbine bearings and Ahlstrom, AGY and Palmetto Technical Fabrics make specialty products for turbine blades. IMO Group is locating their first U.S. manufacturing site in South Carolina and will make wind turbine components.

Clemson University is creating a state-of-the-art wind turbine drivetrain testing facility in North Charleston that will research and test next-generation turbines, larger and more powerful than today’s models. This first-of-its-kind complex is attracting the attention of energy company executives and engineers from around the world. The location is ideal because the Port of Charleston can easily handle large wind equipment and post-Panamax ships, allowing turbine manufacturers to ship their products around the globe. The wind hub will complement South Carolina’s other wind energy companies.

The solar industry is also represented in South Carolina. Stäubli has its North American headquarters in Duncan and manufactures electrical connector systems, connectors, cables and junction boxes, for the solar power market. Ulbrich Precision Flat Wire makes copper flat wire for solar cell tabbing, and Warptek provides warping services for solar protective fabrics. KEMET has the green energy market covered and makes capacitors for wind, tidal, geothermal and solar energy generation plus electric vehicles. Meanwhile, Solar Energy Initiatives is developing a solar technology campus in Williamsburg County where the company will train solar technicians and distribute solar products.


South Carolina has a strong and thriving automotive industry. The state boasts BMW’s only North American assembly plant, Michelin’s North American headquarters and multiple manufacturing facilities, Daimler AG’s newest Sprinter van assembly plant and American LaFrance’s corporate headquarters and commercial vehicle manufacturing plant. In addition, more than 200 suppliers support automotive companies in the state, including Bosch, Magna International, Schaeffler Group, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations and ZF Group.

Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals

South Carolina has an expanding biotech infrastructure comprised of manufacturing, life science-related research and development and service companies. ArborGen and Martek Biosciences are successful biotech companies prospering in the state.

South Carolina has an established base of pharmaceutical manufacturers comprised of bulk manufacturers, chemical processors, generic and proprietary drug makers, hygiene product producers and packagers including Bausch & Lomb, Capsugel, GlaxoSmithKline, The Rightdose Corporation, IRIX Pharmaceuticals, Perrigo and Roche.


Target, Walgreens, Dollar General, Wal-Mart, Institution Food House, Shimano, QVC and Regal Logistics are just some of the companies that have found South Carolina’s strategic East Coast location a competitive advantage for their distribution logistics. With easy access to five interstate highways, 54 general aviation airports, major freight services by air, truck and rail, and the second largest container port (Port of Charleston) on the U.S. Atlantic coast, South Carolina is just a day’s drive from some of the nation’s fastest growing markets.

Food Processing

South Carolina has a number of food manufacturers and food processors. The state proudly boasts Starbucks' first roasting and distribution facility in the Southeast. Additional food processing companies located in the Palmetto State include Kraft, Nestlé, Pepperidge Farm, Perdue Farms, SOPAKCO and Tyson Foods.

Forestry & Wood Products

South Carolina has more than 270 wood product companies in the state making lumber, plywood, veneer, millwork and other wood products plus more than 150 pulp, paper and paperboard plants. Over $1 billion of these products are exported. Sonoco Products, a global manufacturer of industrial and consumer packaging is headquartered in South Carolina. Other well-known companies include Canfor, Flakeboard, Georgia-Pacific, International Paper, MeadWestvaco and Norbord.

Plastics & Chemicals

South Carolina is home to a well-established and growing plastics industry that includes both materials production and processing. Many well-known plastic manufacturers and processors have operations in South Carolina, including FUJIFILM Manufacturing USA, Inc., 3M, BP, Cryovac, DuPont, DAK Americas, Nan Ya, Rhodia and Sonoco ProductsDAK Americas' South Carolina operation is the largest manufacturer of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polymer in the United States. Sealed Air’s Cryovac has multiple facilities in South Carolina including a package design and development center, a global production facility for medical containers and delivery systems and several plastics plants.


South Carolinians enjoy a wide array of activities that include boating, yachting, mountain climbing, golfing, riding four-wheelers, swimming, camping, fishing and the list goes on. Honda's assembly plant for ATVs and recreational watercraft calls South Carolina home, as well as a growing number of other businesses including Beneteau, adidas Group, Shakespeare, Honda, Scout Boats, Shimano, Talley Rings and Jarrett Rifles.