Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley has tried to position herself as a hawkish critic of China in the 2024 Republican presidential primary field. But while serving as the Governor of South Carolina, Haley often boasted of Chinese companies she had convinced to open operations in the state. Records show that during Haley’s tenure, she doubled Chinese investment in the state. In her first year as governor, South Carolina saw $308 million in Chinese investment. By 2015, the number of investments climbed to $670 million. All-in-all, Haley secured over $1.43 billion in Chinese cash.
Nor did said investments come without reciprocation from Governor Haley. Over 1,500 acres of land were granted to Chinese firms under her governorship. In 2016, South Carolina’s Department of Commerce recruited China Jushi — which manufactures fiberglass and other materials — to set up operations in the state.
In exchange for local investment, China Jushi was given land less than 10 miles from Fort Jackson — a U.S. military installation. Like most major Chinese companies, China Jushi is partially state-controlled and has contracts to supply the Chinese military. Chinese firms are also all subject to Article 7 of China’s National Intelligence Law, which mandates that “any [Chinese] organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.”
Another company welcomed by Haley to South Carolina was candy manufacturer Au’Some. During an appearance on the G. Gordon Liddy radio show in April of 2012, then-Governor Haley bragged: “We’re bringing big companies… we just brought a great candy company, and guess where we got that candy company from? It was from China.”
Just two years prior, Au’Some candies were recalled in several U.S. states after regulators discovered they contained dangerous lead levels.