Bay Area Council Blog: China Archive


Updates from the Bay Area Council China Office

After several years of trans-Pacific collaboration between the Bay Area Council and business and government leaders in the Yangtze River Delta region, we are proud that in June 2010 we were able to open a physical office in Shanghai’s Yangpu District to begin the important work of bilateral trade and investment promotion between our two regions. Through our China initiative, Council staff members both in the Bay Area and Shanghai help small, medium and large Bay Area businesses expand in the Chinese market, while also working to attract Chinese companies and investment to California. Since the opening of the office mid-year, we already have been able to facilitate many major deals between Bay Area and Chinese companies and governments.

The Bay Area Council led two delegations to China in 2010 for members to connect their Bay Area businesses with opportunities in China and to bring new investment to the Bay Area, California and the U.S. In June, the Council’s Chairman Lloyd Dean, President & CEO of Catholic Healthcare West, and approximately 35 other leading executives from the Bay Area spent a week in Shanghai meeting local leaders as well as celebrating the grand opening of our China office. BAC leadership met with Shanghai Party Secretary Yu Zhengsheng, among other notable figures.

As a testament to the clout assembled in our first delegation, the Council was appointed to lead a September delegation to Shanghai and Hangzhou featuring then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, three State of California Cabinet Secretaries and 55 Bay Area Council delegates from 40 companies, representing a combined $179 billion in annual revenue. It was also on this trip that the Council announced its bid to bring World Expo 2020 to Moffett Field.

The Council also supported two trips led by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson – the first focused on promoting opportunities within the NUMMI auto plant in Fremont and the second on sourcing interest among green technology companies in expanding their operations in the Bay Area.

In November, we had the privilege to host Shanghai Yangpu District Party Secretary Chen Yin and his leadership team in the Bay Area. Delegates met with the BAC Board of Directors at Lockheed Martin and senior executives from industry leaders like Kaiser Permanente, Pixar, IBM, Autodesk, Oclaro, Cogswell College, and Silicon Valley Bank. Throughout the year, we also addressed delegations from China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Commerce, Sichuan provincial government, Dalian municipal government, Lianyungang municipal government, and other governments and state-owned enterprises.

Across these delegations, the Council supported a number of important MOUs and agreements between a diverse array of Bay Area companies and Chinese counterparts, including:

  • Zap-Jonway – Pilot project for electric vehicles and metering/charging infrastructure
  • Concept Art House – Development of digital arts education platform in Shanghai
  • Pacific Carbon Exchange – Connecting carbon exchanges in California & China
  • Cradle to Cradle Green Products Innovation Institute – Joint development of green products institute in Shanghai
  • Sanuk Mak – Representative office opening
  • Heller Manus Architects – Jeff Heller appointed as Yangpu District senior advisor for urban planning
  • The Cherokee Fund – Partnership on brownfield redevelopment project

The Bay Area Council itself has signed agreements with the China Railway Construction Company and the Shanghai Financial Services Bureau that will serve to further Bay Area economic interests around California high speed rail and the growing venture capital industry in China, respectively.

The Bay Area Council’s offices in both the US and China are committed to working with our members to promote the economic growth and integration of our two regions through the promotion of trade and investment. We welcome your involvement and direction as we move forward in 2011.

Happy New Year,
Kristen Durham
VP, Global Initiatives



Spring Xing, Director of BAC's Shanghai Office

We are pleased to announce that Spring Xing has been hired as Director of the Bay Area Council’s Shanghai office.  Xing comes to the Bay Area Council from Soufun Holdings, the leading real estate internet portal and home furnishing and improvement website in China, where she was Deputy General Manager of the Shanghai Branch and General Manager of their operations in Hong Kong.  Previously, she worked for the Shanghai Industry Investment Corporation, the Ray White Group, ExxonMobil, and Siemens.  Xing has an MBA from the China Europe International Business School and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. In her role as Office Director, Xing will be responsible for managing the Bay Area Council’s activities in China, including attracting Bay Area companies to the Yangpu District of Shanghai, managing communications with government officials and related enterprises, and developing leads among Chinese companies interested in growing in the Bay Area.  The Bay Area Council’s Shanghai office opened in June of 2010 and is located in the Knowledge and Innovation Community in the Yangpu District of Shanghai.

PDF Press Release

Santa Rosa Press Democrat: China strengthens ties to Zap electric carmaker

Santa Rosa’s electric vehicle retailer Zap has signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese officials to promote electric cars on the streets of Shanghai.

The company separately announced that it has completed a $10 million down payment for a majority share in Chinese car maker Jonway Automotive. The payment is part of a $29 million purchase agreement first announced in July.

The two developments are part of Zap’s efforts to become a manufacturer and retailer of electric vehicles in China, now the world’s largest auto market.

The memorandum is “the first big deal of its kind,” the result of growing ties between business and government leaders from the Bay Area and Shanghai regions, said Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, a business advocacy group. It was fostered in part by a state delegation that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Council led to China in September.

The deal, Wunderman said, signals that both Zap and local Chinese officials understand that neither party can by itself build the charging and battery-swap stations needed to make electric vehicles a practical means of transportation in Yangpu, a district of Shanghai.

“Whether you’re building electric vehicles in the Bay Area or China, it’s going to require a public/private partnership to get it done,” Wunderman said.

Read the story…


San Francisco Chronicle: Zap charging its way in to China’s EV market

Chalk up another one for Zap in the race to enter China’s electric car market.

The small Santa Rosa EV maker has just signed a deal with Shanghai officials to provide charging stations, battery swap facilities and maintenance depots for the city’s commercial Yangpu district.

Zap will also develop a pilot Electric Vehicle Eco-City program involving the use of Zap vehicles in Yangpu’s bus, taxi and government fleets. Sales and marketing offices and R&D centers will be located there.

CEO Steven Schneider was traveling on business and not available for comment Monday, but Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council, called it “a major milestone for the Bay Area’s electric vehicle industry.”

Earlier this year, Zap acquired a 51 percent stake in Jonway Automobile, a Chinese car and motorcycle manufacturer, in a $120 million deal approved by the Chinese government in October.

The combined company, called Zap Jonway, is planning to ramp up production next year, primarily at a 3.6 million-square-foot plant in China’s eastern coastal province of Zhejiang. Other assets acquired by Zap include 500 Jonway dealerships across the country.

Connections pay: The deal was first broached during Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s trade mission to Asia in September, which included a stop in Shanghai, where he was accompanied by Bay Area Council executives. The council’s recently opened Shanghai office introduced Zap executives to the right people there and helped negotiate the deal.

“This is a great example of what connecting California innovators with governments and businesses around the world can do,” Schwarzenegger said. “As a direct result, Zap is breaking barriers in exporting clean technology from California to China.”

Read the story…


Lockheed Martin Hosts BAC Board Meeting, No Space Suit Required

Yesterday, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Vice President of Operations and Bay Area Council Executive Committee member, S.K. Gupta hosted fantastic Bay Area Council Executive Committee and Board of Directors meetings.  We heard from an exciting array of speakers including Ezra Rapport, Executive Director of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Martin Alintuck, President and CEO of the USA Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, and Dr. Ray Seed of U.C. Berkeley who spoke on the risk California faces due to the insufficient levee system on the Sacramento Delta.  The members were also treated to a tour of Lockheed’s facilities, including an up close and personal look at a nuclear missile.

We also had the honor of hosting Yangpu Party Secretary Chen Yin and a delegation of high-level officials from Shanghai for a luncheon following the meeting.  The delegation is in the Bay Area this week meeting with top executives from several Bay Area Council member companies, including Silicon Valley Bank, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo and ZAP Electric Vehicles.



The New York Times featured an interesting article this week regarding the United States’ pressure on China to raise the value of its currency.  The article discusses that although this plan may make American manufacturing companies more competitive as compared to Chinese companies, it may also increase costs for U.S. companies who rely on Chinese-made supplies.

Tour of Yangpu 1

September 2010 Trade Mission to China with Governor Schwarzenegger

We would like invite you on an important trip to Shanghai and Hangzhou, China with Governor Schwarzenegger, September 8-13. The Bay Area Council has opened our “Bay Area Business Landing Pad” in Shanghai. A major goal is to expand California employment by giving Bay Area and California companies the opportunity, guidance and connections needed to sell their products and services in China. The relatively anemic economic turnaround in California and the rest of the United States has made accessing the China market critical to our economic recovery. This initiative has become a very big deal in both Shanghai and California – due to its potential job creation and ability to strengthen the ties between our two countries – and we are very pleased that the Governor will be helping us and the state with the China relationship.

This trip will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, meeting with the top government and business leadership of Shanghai, Hangzhou and in some cases the whole of China. This is an opportunity for you and your organization to create new relationships or deepen existing ones with some of the most important decision makers in the fastest growing marketplace on the planet, while helping California during a hard economic time.

Part of our trip will have all of us together, but to extend our reach and maximize the benefit to you, we will also split into subgroups to ensure that you can meet with the top leaders, competitors and potential partners specific to your industry and interests. The Governor will also be bringing three Cabinet Secretaries, which will further extend the potential reach of this delegation in China.

We hope you will join us on this historic trip as we open greater opportunities for trade and investment between California and China in the coming Century of the Pacific.

Trip Information

September 8-13, 2010

Final Agenda

Staff Contacts:
John Grubb

Kristen Durham
China cell:
+86 136 2161 7951

Read more on the opening of the Bay Area Council Yangpu Office:

Press Release
Weekly Flash

June 16 Expo3

Trip to Open the Bay Area Business Community’s China Landing Pad

There are many reasons why Bay Area companies have decided now is the time to expand in China. With China’s stunning economic growth, its rapidly expanding middle class, the pull of existing customers to move there, the threat of competitors getting there first, the escalating demand and premium price for Bay Area or “American” products and services, a potential prolonged local recession, and the need to be in China in this evermore “global” business world – it’s no wonder.

Like any new market, business in China comes with challenges. Relationship management is a critical competence, as are strategies to get comfortable with a new business culture and operate in a different language. That said, numerous Bay Area businesses have already braved China and found it an exhilarating, profitable experience.

China wants and needs your products and services. They want to build an economy modeled more and more on the Bay Area’s innovation economy. Recognizing the mutual benefit for our two regions in the coming Century of the Pacific, the Bay Area business community is partnering with the business and government community of Shanghai to roll out the red carpet and build a Bay Area landing pad in Shanghai’s dynamic Yangpu District.

We hope you join us on this historic trip as we learn how to successfully expand in China, use the Yangpu District as an in depth case study of how to grow in China from the ground up, see one of the most incredible cities humanity has ever built, plus, have a good time.

Trip Information

June 13-18, 2010
Shanghai, China

Staff Contacts:
John Grubb

Kristen Durham

Read more on the opening of the Bay Area Council Yangpu Office:

Press Release
Weekly Flash

Trip materials

Official Brochure (1 MB)
Final Agenda
Trip Photos


BAC and Alliance of CEOs Join Forces to Discuss Investment in China

By Jim Wunderman

Last week, the Bay Area Council and the Alliance of CEOs brought together CEOs from across the region for a roundtable discussion on “Doing Business in China Today.”  Having just opened our new office in Shanghai, I shared my first-hand insights and tips with the group.  Much of the discussion centered on the business culture in China and how Chinese businesses put a premium on established relationships and working through Chinese partners.  Since the Council already has boots on the ground in the Yangpu District of Shanghai and established ties to the Chinese Party Secretary, it was a great venue to highlight our upcoming trade mission to China with Governor Schwarzenegger in September.  And with China passing the U.S. as the world’s biggest energy user this week, the imperative for American companies to set up shop over there is only growing.


Why the Council’s Focus on China? It’s the Economy…

By John Grubb

At the end of 2006, recognizing that most of the Council’s members have operations in about 20 of the same regions on the planet, the BAC created a “Global Competitiveness Strategy.”  The strategy was designed to extend the Council’s reach and open up an international front to take advantage of the new globalized economy.  The Council started with the Shanghai-Yangtze region of China because of historical ties, current economic links and the phenomenal growth potential.

First there were delegation visits and conferences, delving into such issues as green-technology and venture capital. Those evolved into what the Council proudly announced last month: a fully operational and permanent trade office in Shanghai’s dynamic Yangpu District.  Along the way, many of our members have deftly parlayed the Council’s visits into serious money making and employment boosting opportunities.  Just like China, the relationships have grown at lightning speed – from simple meet-and-greets to strong connections with the top business and government leaders of the Shanghai- Yangtze region, and beyond.

In September, we expect to cross a new threshold, when Governor Schwarzenegger and top Chinese leaders join us at an event codifying a 4-Point Economic Agreement currently being negotiated.  The visit will also celebrate the opening of offices in China by some of our local companies, as they capitalize on the Chinese market and sell their products and services.  This matters profoundly.  The relatively anemic economic turnaround in California and the rest of the United States has made accessing the China market critical to our economic recovery.  If you or a company you know are getting ready to expand in China, you should consider joining our delegation to China in September. If nothing else, it will be a great way to start practicing your Mandarin.