Bay Area Council Blog: China Archive

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.


Governor Schwarzenegger Congratulates Bay Area Council on Shanghai Office Opening

This week, Governor Schwarzenegger was generous enough to send a video message to the Bay Area Council delegation in Shanghai for the opening of our China office. The Governor touches on many themes of great importance to California and the Bay Area, including investment, innovation and job creation. Thank you to Governor Schwarzenegger and his staff for their continued support of the Bay Area Council. Check out the video below.


Scaling Up: From Green Buildings to Green Cities in the US and China | May 1, 2009

By Kristen Durham

Amidst a worldwide recession, efficient use of resources becomes even more critical to the bottom line of business. For the Bay Area in particular, such an environment provides opportunities for companies both looking to reduce their energy demand and technology firms that can supply the tools necessary to achieve resource savings.

As a follow up to the US|China Green Tech Summit in Shanghai last November and ongoing activities in the technology and environment space, the Bay Area Council is excited to convene another high-level conference at the intersection of green business and policy. Working in partnership with the Asia Society of Northern California, the Council will be hosting “Scaling Up: From Green Buildings to Green Cities in the US and China” on Friday, May 1, 2009, at the PG&E Auditorium in San Francisco.

Buildings consume well over 30 percent of all primary energy in the world—more than either transportation or industry. By building green, we can increase overall operating efficiency in our buildings and reduce energy consumption in the built environment by 30-50 percent. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in a recent work report at the ongoing annual National People’s Congress that China’s energy consumption per 1,000 yuan (147 USD) of GDP has dropped by 10.8 percent in the past three years—still leaving the country far short of its 20 percent reduction goal for 2010. The Bay Area is uniquely positioned to help China achieve these goals through knowledge and tech transfer, and the Bay Area Council is working to enable such a flow.

This one-day conference looks at the challenges and opportunities of reducing the carbon footprint of our cities while increasing global prosperity. Today, the greatest challenge for green design is to scale up — to move beyond pilot projects and piecemeal solutions to building and retrofitting on a massive scale in order to have a meaningful impact on global warming. Green materials must be mass produced, construction techniques must be standardized, and the principles of green design must inform urban planning, not simply the design of individual buildings. These are the critical issues this conference will address.

Invited speakers include (partial list): Vincent Lo, Chairman & CEO, Shui On Group; Jiang Yi, Professor of Building Science, Tsinghua University; Peter Darbee, Chairman, CEO, and President, PG&E; Jeff Heller, President, Heller-Manus; Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs; Dian Grueneich, Commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission; Mark Levine, Group Leader, China Energy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; John Kriken, Consulting Partner, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP; Stanley Yip, Director of Planning & Development, Arup China; Sabeer Bhatia, Founder, Hotmail; planner and developer, Nanocity (India).

Click here to register.