The U.S. and China may be locked in a simmering trade war, but that didn’t dampen the warm reception the Bay Area Council received as it led a delegation to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen last week, including a major international trade expo that featured Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Council, in its role operating the California-China Office of Trade and Investment, represented the only government entity from the United States to participate in the event. The Council and the 32 business delegates we led to China took part in numerous meetings and forums with top Chinese business and government leaders. The trip also included several landmarks for the Bay Area Council:
- The opening of our new Beijing Office, staffed by a director and two support staff, with incredible support from MEBO Group
- A three-year renewal of our contract with Shanghai’s Yangpu District, supporting a large-scale office, a business accelerator, and a vice president and 1-2 support staff
- A new agreement in Shenzhen between the Bay Area Council and the Tsinghua-Berkeley-Shenzhen Institute on a multi-year collaboration that will support annual research reports, co-hosted events, and a support service for companies joining the new campus.
The visit began November 1 in Beijing, where Beijing Vice Mayor Chen hosted the Council and its delegates for an exclusive dinner reception. The following day, Council Executive Committee member and GE Digital CEO Bill Ruh delivered the keynote address at a major technology and innovation conference at ZGC technology park where he laid out a future roadmap for industrial software companies. Another forum later in the day featured Bay Area Council Economic Institute Senior Director Sean Randolph and delegates Dan Morrissett, CFO of Dignity Health; Duncan Turner, Partner at SOSV; and Kevin Xu, Chairman of the MEBO Group.
The delegation then traveled to Shanghai for the first-ever China International Import Exhibition (CIIE). Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the CIIE last year as a personal project to boost China’s import volume. President Xi personally opened the expo and later met individually with Bay Area Council member Simon Pang of Royal Business Bank, who discussed California’s sole presence at the event with President Xi. The Council extends its thanks to Sean Stein, U.S. Consul General in Shanghai, for meeting with us and briefing our delegation on the importance of the expo and on the status of Sino-American relations today.
In its role as a partner in the California-China Office of Trade and Investment, the Council hosted a trade booth at CIIE to promote trade and investment by Chinese companies in California. The booth served as the backdrop for the signing of an agreement between Council member Trefethen and Xie Chengbiao, Chairman of Pacific Island Holdings, that will bring Trefethen premium wines to China.
The trip concluded with a visit to Guangdong province where delegates met with officials from the Dongguan government to discuss how Bay Area businesses can participate in the Greater Pearl River Delta economic reforms taking shape. Municipal Government Party Secretary Zhang also provided a briefing on the “Greater Bay Area” project and hosted a visit to the city’s priority development zones.
The delegation came to a close in Shenzhen with the landmark signing of an agreement between the Bay Area Council and the Tsinghua-Berkeley-Shenzhen Institute. The agreement outlines a multi-year collaboration that will support annual research reports, co-hosted events, and a support service for companies joining the new campus. To learn more about the Bay Area Council’s China work, please contact Chief of Global Business Development Del Christensen.