NACA joined Atlanta Mayor led China trade mission to encourage foreign direct investment in metropolitan Atlanta and help small-to-medium sized local businesses identify and grow their export opportunities with the world’s second-largest economy. More than 20 Atlanta businesses from industries including civil engineering, commercial real estate, fiber optics, construction, private equity and architecture joined Invest Atlanta, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Mayor Reed on his first trade mission to China.
The Atlanta Mayor's office, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (MACOC), Invest Atlanta, and NACA have put together a business-focused schedule for the 46-member delegation visiting Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Shenzhen/Guangzhou from March 23-31, 2012.
NACA is the only organization in our Atlanta Chinese communities commissioned to be involved in the planning, implementation and execution phases of this trip. NACA Chair Lani Wong, President Steven Gu, and Advisor Henry Yu spent countless hours of volunteered services and hard work, making sure the visit to China is a successful one. Lani and Henry also joined the delegation.
Besides Mayor Reed, other government officials included 6 City Council members (5 Councilmen and 1 staff), Mayor’s Chief of Staff Candace Byrd, City’s Communications Director Sonji Dade, and International Manager Noah Downer. Representing Invest Atlanta are Brian McGowan, President; Bill Cronin, VP; Kevin Johnson, Senior Advisor; and Eloisa Klementich, Director. MACOC sent its SVP Hans Gant, VP Jorge Fernandez, Director Ric Hubler and Director Katie Klein. WSB TV-Channel 2 also sent its reporter Fred Blankenship III, Producer Brian Lazaro and cameraman Keith Pratley Jr. Mark Becker, President of GSU was the only leader from our university system taking part in this special trip, the first one from our Atlanta Mayor Reed. Over 20 Atlanta companies from various industries (IT, Staffing, Service, Construction & R/E, Law, Banking, Investment Banking, Design & Engineering, etc) sent their senior executives to explore business opportunities with their counterparts in China. Noticeable companies included Georgia Power, HJ Russell & Co., Carter & Associates, TVS Design, Ackerman & Co., Jones Day and East West Bank, just to name a few.
The purposes of the trip are to promote Atlanta/Georgia exports to China and to solicit investors from the business communities in the 3-4 cities we visited. This can help create and add new jobs in Atlanta/Georgia, which is the main theme of our trip.
Sunday, March 25-Shanghai
After arriving late night of March 24, we kicked off the delegation visit via attending a Home Depot hosted lunch in Shanghai. Home Depot VP Bob Danville shared with us very informative insights and stories of how business is done in China from a retail perspective. Bob also briefly discussed HD’s strategies in China and reviewed the Dos and Don’ts. After the networking event, we took a 4-hour bus ride from Shanghai to Nanjing.
Monday, March 26-Nanjing
US Commercial Services provided us with country/city updates and briefing before we begin our agenda in Nanjing. Nanjing Vice Mayor Zheng Zeguang made welcoming remarks during the Nanjing/Atlanta Business Cooperation Summit, with brief remarks from our Mayor Reed, MACOC and Invest Atlanta officers. Highlight of the morning included roundtable discussion between Atlanta and NJ companies. Over 20 NJ companies talked to our Atlanta business leaders on future cooperation opportunities. HJ Russell and Carter & Associates were kind enough to host lunch to our entire delegation after the morning session.In the afternoon, there were concurrent events from various assigned groups. Mayor Reed and other officials visited the NJ Museum of Urban Planning and Development, while the FDI (foreign direct investment) group visited 2 NJ companies (Haiermansi and Carefree Pharma) to convince them Atlanta to be a great location for their US office/investment. Mayor Reed and Dr. Becker of GSU also spoke at Nanjing University during a brief meeting with its VP to exchange ideas of cooperation. The Trade group, led by Ric Hubler, and a few companies toured a new Economic & Development District to identify business exchanges. Monday night was the highlight of the NJ visit as Nanjing Mayor Ji Jianye hosted a lavish dinner to our delegation, with attendance from NJ Vice Mayor Zheng and many senior government officials. The NJ/Atlanta MOU was also executed between our cities to promote various kinds of exchanges.
Tuesday, March 27-Nanjing
FDI Group (4 members) spent the whole day visiting a hot prospect from Taizhou, Jiangsu in an effort to convince this company to invest in Atlanta. Senior officers of the potential new investor hosted us lunch and follow-up needs to be made on more details on specifics of incentives to lure them to Atlanta! The Taizuou prospect, referred by Henry Yu, has over $600mn in sales and is ultimately owned by a SOE in Beijing.Jin Ding Partners (Jones Day’s partner in NJ) put together a seminar in the morning to showcase Atlanta to NJ and some of Jindong’s customers. Mayor Reed attended a luncheon hosted by Jiangsu Reform and Development Commission. Concurrently the Trade Group had 2 sessions (morning and afternoon) for match-making purpose through the assistance of Gold Key program partners, and NJ Foreign Affairs Office.Through Henry’s assistance, Standard Chartered Bank Nanjing sent 4-5 customers to meet our Atlanta firms.Highlight of the day was the boat tour of the Xuan Wu Lake/Qinghuai River after Vice Mayor Zheng hosting dinner for our delegation. Mayor Reed enjoyed a relaxing moment with Vice Mayor Zheng. This helps solidify the personal relationship established between our respective Mayors since July of 2011 when Nanjing Mayor Ji and Vice Mayor Zheng visited Atlanta.
Wednesday, March 28-Hangzhou
This was a very long day for us as we had to take a 7:30am bus from NJ to Hangzhou, which took us 4.5 hours. Hangzhou General Chamber of Commerce President Zhang Bi-Lai hosted lunch for our entire delegation. Mayor Reed and Zhang also witnessed the execution of a MOU between MACOC and HZ General Chamber of Commerce. Following the luncheon, and through the assistance of HZ Chamber and CCPIT, match-making took place between our companies and about 30 local firms. Henry Yu assisted in inviting 15 Standard Chartered Bank Hangzhou customers to meet our Atlanta companies. HZ Chamber also sent 13 HZ companies (FDI prospects) to learn more about investment climate in Atlanta. Our NACA President Gu also asked one of KPMG’s customers (a large company called Jushi Group) to meet us. Concurrently, CCPIT senior officials met with Mayor Reed and certain members to review collaborative efforts concerning trade and investments. Also taking part in the discussion were representatives of Southern Polytechnic State and HZ’s Jiliang University. Georgia Power was kind enough to host dinner to our delegation. Hangzhou Foreign Affairs Office arranged for us to attend a show highlighting the Song Dynasty City, a popular local destination for culture and heritage. It was a 16 hour day and everyone was tired!
Thursday, March 29-Hangzhou
In the morning, 3 FDI groups visited 3 companies (UN Forklift, Astronergy-CHINT Group subsidiary, and Zhong Nan Group). Concurrently the Trade Group continued the match-making meetings with about 15 local companies attending.Hangzhou Mayor Shao Zhanwei and Vice Mayor Tong Guili hosted lunch to our delegation. Though Vice mayor Tong visited Atlanta in May of 2009 this was the first mayoral visit between our two cities. Mayor Shao is originally from Ningbo and Vice Mayor Tong is one of a few young leaders in Hangzhou with a promising future. We learned that Hangzhou is sending a delegation in the second half of this year to USA and we asked them to include Atlanta!After lunch, we officially concluded our visit to Hangzhou. Our Trade group and certain members went to Guangzhou and FDI group and Mayor Reed went to Shenzhen.
Friday, March 30-Shenzhen
Mayor Reed and 10 members met with Huawei and ZTE to convince them to expand their activities in Atlanta. Both ZTE and Huawei set up their US headquartered in Dallas and have set up sales offices in Atlanta. Huawei and ZTE are ranked #1 and #2 in China in the telecommunication equipment industry and Huwei ranks in the Top 5 in the world. Huawei also hosted a grand and delicious lunch to our delegation!Friday night was the official dinner hosted by Shenzhen Mayor Xue Quan and Vice Mayor Chen Gaihu, after execution of the MOU between our two cities. The Trade group, with the help of US Commercial Services did their match-making activities in Guangzhou on Friday.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
In Shenzhen, Jorge Fernandez, Bill Cronin and Henry Yu visited BYD, the 4th largest automaker in China. Our pitch to BYD was well received as they will visit Atlanta in early May to learn about what Atlanta has to offer. BYD, a customer of East West Bank, set up their LA headquarters in the 4th quarters of 2011. Others left for HK to return to Atlanta and a few returned via Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Though it was a short trip, we were kept busy with many appointments and meetings. Our government officials learned a bit more about urban planning and how Chinese cities are run. On the business side, this was an over-whelming success as many Atlanta companies have to do a lot of follow-up from their meetings with their counterparts. One take-away from this trip is the need for closer private/public engagement and partnerships to bring Atlanta to the forefront of Chinese investors. Very successful trip indeed!
We also thank the following NACA friends for their generous donations:
Southwest Airlines Atlanta Marriott Marquis Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel Aqua Bistro Atlanta Hawks Canton House Restaurant Crown Import LLC Ms. Ethel Mar General Wholesale Home Depot Huawei ING Jeffry M Smith, Esq. Ms. Maggie Mers Oriental Pearl Sea Food Restaurant Northlake Thai Cuisine