The Bay Area Council this week embarked on five-day trade mission to China that opened with the signing of a new economic cooperation agreement with Shanghai’s burgeoning Yangpu District and the opening of a high tech business park that will serve as a landing pad for companies looking to expand trade in the world’s fastest growing economy.
“This new agreement and the opening of the San Francisco-Silicon Valley-Shanghai Digitization Park represent an important expansion of the Council’s relationship with Shanghai and the Yangpu District and another substantive step forward in the Council’s ability to provide Bay Area companies with increased access to the exploding Chinese marketplace,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The Council has invested considerable effort in forging the relationships and developing the physical infrastructure that can smooth the way for companies to enter China and increase exports of California products and services.”
The significance of the Council’s relationship with Yangpu was highlighted by a meeting Wunderman and Council Chair Janet Lamkin held with Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng to discuss the future of this growing district. Yangpu is at the forefront of China’s efforts to expand its innovation economy and is considered a national pilot project for combining the various components – universities, research institutes, venture capital, physical infrastructure – necessary to cultivate new technologies and startups.
The opening of the high tech park in Yangpu was held on the first day of a five-day trade mission the Council is leading that features stops in Shanghai and Beijing and meetings with high-level business leaders and government ministers about economic opportunities related to port facilities, healthcare, innovation and financial services, among others.
The agreement with the Yangpu District government calls for the Council to assist small, medium and large companies in opening or expanding operations in Yangpu, identifying companies interested in occupying a new “accelerator” building within the high tech park designed specifically for companies entering the Chinese market and promoting Yangpu among companies in the Bay Area. It builds on an earlier memorandum of understanding between the Council and Yangpu that established the broad outlines for the relationship.
The Council delegation, which includes Oakland Port Commissioner Alan Yee, toured an innovative deepwater port facility in Shanghai on Tuesday that is the largest in China and among the largest in the world and, along with healthcare officials from Cisco, met with top officials from the Shanghai Healthcare Authority to discuss emerging opportunities in the Chinese healthcare sector.
The trade mission marks the seventh trip the Council has facilitated between the Bay Area and China since 2006, when the Council first began exploring opportunities for establishing closer ties with California’s third largest and fastest-growing trading partner. The Council opened an office in Shanghai in 2010.
“Foreign trade represents one of California’s biggest continuing economic opportunities and is a major driver of job creation,” Wunderman said. “In addition to increasing California exports to China and creating new business opportunities for Bay Area companies, the Council is also working to increase investment by Chinese companies in our region.”