Bay Area Council Blog: News Archive


San Francisco Chronicle – Bay Area execs’ confidence slips a bit

Still positive, only less so.

That’s the message from the Bay Area Council’s latest survey of business confidence in these parts.

Of the 500 CEOs and senior executives surveyed in the nine Bay Area counties in August, just 41 percent believe economic conditions locally have improved, down 17 points from last quarter’s survey. Forty-four percent see better times ahead, down 19 points from the previous survey.

The council’s business confidence index – a distillation of the survey’s various findings – was a little brighter. It registered 56 on a scale of 100, still in positive territory, though down from the 62 reading last time, and the first decline after four successive quarters of rising confidence since summer 2009. Still, that’s far better than January 2009′s all-time low of 31.

Read the story…


San Francisco Business Times – Local CEOs nervous, but some still hiring

Bay Area CEOs are nervous about the future, but remain optimistic about the region as a whole — and some are still in hiring mode.

The Bay Area Council said Thursday its recent survey showed that confidence in the economy has taken a hit. The business confidence index, the number that distills the survey findings, registered at 56, down 6 points from the survey last quarter.

The survey indicates that the decrease in business confidence translates to jobs. Six in 10 executives said they predict their workforce will stay the same over the next half year. But only 14 percent of executives stated they planned to decrease their workforce , the same percentage as in the survey last quarter.

Read the story…


AP – Calif. expo advocates would use old Navy air base

Advocates for a bid to host California’s first World Expo since 1940 see its potential placement at a former military air base in the Silicon Valley as a masterstroke with the possibility to create research facilities and showcase the state’s high-technology region.

At the Shanghai Expo, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Sunday that Moffett Field will be entered into the bidding for the 2020 World Expo.

“We think it’s a transformative opportunity,” said Bill Berry, the president of a partnership between the University of California, NASA and others that have already created some educational research facilities at the airspace on the southern San Francisco Bay. “It’s a game changer.”

Yet experts say the plan to create facilities and exhibit halls for a 2020 World Expo that can eventually be repurposed for higher education could run into challenges, such as finding the necessary money to hold the event.

The Bay Area also faces a slate of potential competitors from the U.S. and abroad. They include Houston, Minneapolis, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Read the story…


Governor Schwarzenegger, Bay Area Council, Announce Bid for 2020 World Expo

On Sunday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined Bay Area Council President & CEO Jim Wunderman to announce that California will bid to host the 2020 World Expo in Silicon Valley. The announcement was made at the World Expo in Shanghai before the Governor toured the U.S., Austrian and Chinese pavilions. World Expos typically occur every five years and attract exhibits from countries around the globe and bring as many as 70 million visitors. The Governor and Council will work together to bring this prominent international event to the Golden State.

“Shanghai has demonstrated that when you host the World Expo, the world comes to you, and I want the world to come to California. Our state is a leader in entertainment, agriculture, the environment, high-tech, green-tech and bio-tech, and we are ready to showcase our innovation to the world,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “As the hub of innovation, Silicon Valley is the most natural place to hold the Expo, which will promote the international exchange of ideas, create jobs and increase revenues in our state.”

The proposed site is Moffett Field, next to the pristine San Francisco Bay. The area is heavily served by international and local transportation and is surrounded by some of the largest and most respected companies in the world.

“The World Expo is the Olympic Games of the economic, scientific and industrial world, and we think it is time for Silicon Valley to serve as an ambassador for the United States and host this event,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “For 30 years, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley have been the pre-eminent hot spots for the innovation that drives the world’s technological advances.  Imagine what a Silicon Valley Expo will look like when we put all of the region’s collective brainpower to work.”

World Expos can generate tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of jobs for host regions.  Shanghai’s World Expo will leave the city with an additional $40 billion of roads, subway lines and airport terminals.  The net economic impact for the Shanghai Expo has been estimated at $11.6 billion, according to Chen Xinkang, professor of marketing and business management at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

The State of California and the United States will submit their formal Expo 2020 candidacy application in 2011 and the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) – the governing body of World Expositions – will likely announce the winning bid for Expo 2020 at the end of 2012.  Currently, the United States is not a member of the BIE. The Bay Area Council plans to work with Congressional Representatives and the U.S. State Department over the next few months to reinstate the U.S. as a contributing member.

The last Expo that was held in the United States was in 1984 in New Orleans.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

San Jose Mercury News – Plans unveiled for bid to put World Expo 2020 at Moffett Field

While still barely a gleam in the governor’s eye, plans to try to bring the World Expo 2020 to Silicon Valley inched forward Saturday, as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger formally announced his bid during a visit to the Shanghai World Expo and identified Moffett Field as the host site.

“Shanghai has demonstrated that when you host the World Expo, the world comes to you, and I want the world to come to California,” Schwarzenegger reportedly said before touring the U.S. pavilion. “Our state is a leader in entertainment, agriculture, the environment, high tech, green tech and biotech, and we are ready to showcase our innovation to the world.”

Joined by Jim Wunderman, head of the Bay Area Council who first proposed the idea and has been spearheading the effort, Schwarzenegger called Silicon Valley “the hub of innovation” and said it was “the most natural place to hold the expo, which will promote the international exchange of ideas, create jobs and increase revenues in our state,” according to an advance release.

Typically held every five years, world expos can bring tens of millions of visitors to see hundreds of pavilions hosted by countries and individual corporations. Once described as a platform for “nation branding,” an expo can also cost a ton of money — the council said the Chinese government spent $4.2 billion on the Shanghai event, although much of that went to major improvements to the city’s highways and transit infrastructure.

Read the story…

9-8-2010 SF Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle – Schwarzenegger to pitch Bay Area World Expo

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will make a pitch for the Bay Area to host the world’s fair in 2020 when he visits the Shanghai World Expo later this week, The Chronicle has learned.

Schwarzenegger, scheduled to depart Thursday for a six-day trip to China, plans to attend the exposition in Shanghai and will meet with event leaders to sell the idea of hosting the world exhibition in Silicon Valley, said Aaron McLear, the governor’s spokesman.

“That’s a large part of why we’re going (to the expo),” McLear said. “The governor’s going to give his pitch that they should look at” the Bay Area.

The governor will be joined in China by leaders of the Bay Area Council, a business advocacy organization that will spearhead the effort for a national bid.

The World Expo, formerly known as the World’s Fair, is governed by the Bureau International des Expositions in Paris. The Expo 2010 Shanghai has attracted nearly 50 million visitors since it opened 132 days ago. It continues through the end of October.

Read the story…

9-8-2010 San Jose Mercury News

San Jose Mercury News – California preparing bid to host 2020 World Expo in Silicon Valley

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger held a news conference Wednesday morning at the Santa Clara offices of chip maker Marvell Technology Group, a public pep rally for his six-day trade mission to Asia that begins today.

But the real news of the day never made the conference: California is preparing a bid to host the 2020 world’s fair in Silicon Valley.

“When he gets to Shanghai, the governor will pitch bringing the World Expo to Silicon Valley,” spokesman Jeff Macedo confirmed late Wednesday. “We’ll have more to announce over the next few days, but that’s all the details we have right now.”

In a fast-moving series of e-mails and overseas phone calls throughout the day, the governor and local business leaders were scrambling to put together their blockbuster announcement.

There had been hints early Wednesday that something was up — some local news radio chatter and a cryptic one-liner from a spokesman saying the governor would visit the 2010 Shanghai World Expo during his three-nation mission and talk up the Bay Area to expo organizers. Yet when the governor stepped in front of several hundred cheering Marvell employees, there was no mention of a bid.

Read the story…


San Francisco Chronicle – Schwarzenegger bound for Asia on trade mission

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is leading a trade mission to Asia this week to promote California products and to help secure what he said could amount to billions of dollars in business for companies in the state.

The six-day trip to China, Japan and South Korea is the governor’s first trade mission in more than three years. He plans to tour the company making components for the eastern span of the Bay Bridge and ride high-speed trains in all three countries.

Business leaders from the Bay Area, Los Angeles and other parts of the state are joining Schwarzenegger, who leaves Thursday and returns Sept. 15. The trip comes amid the second-longest budget impasse in California history and, unless leaders at the Capitol come to an agreement before Thursday, Schwarzenegger’s absence probably will mean little action on that front.

Read the story…


Bring World Expo to Silicon Valley in 2020

Over the weekend, I had an Op-Ed in the San Jose Mercury News that is essentially the tip of the spear of one of the Council’s next major pushes.  Right now I can’t reveal too much, but everyone in the region should definitely stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for more details.  In the meantime, check out my Op-Ed.

Lately, it seems like you can’t read a newspaper, turn on the TV or go online without hearing about China’s rise and America’s demise. Whether it’s China overtaking Japan as the world’s second largest economy or the Agricultural Bank of China having one of the biggest IPO’s in history, the story inevitably is about China.

Yes, China is gaining influence around the world. Yes, China is growing in stature. If we are smart, we will embrace it. Our organization just opened an office in Shanghai to help our region’s business succeed in China, and we’re leading a delegation with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in September to grow our exports to that country.

But China’s rise doesn’t mean we’re giving up here in the States. Quite the contrary. We can, and should, learn a lot from our Chinese partners. A great example is the Shanghai World Expo.

Just look at what Shanghai has been able to accomplish this year with its Expo. When everything is said and done, more than 70 million people from across the world will have attended. The city captured the world’s attention for six months and used billions of dollars generated by the Expo to build new subways, rail lines, ferries and other infrastructure projects. The Expo has been Shanghai’s stimulus package.

In a world where a strong global image is a key asset, world expositions are once again a vehicle for “region branding.” Apart from cultural and symbolic reasons, organizing countries – and the regions hosting expos — can use the event to share their best thinking, companies and culture on a global stage. China has certainly done this.

Silicon Valley and California can and should too.

It’s time we lay a marker down and start to make a bid for the 2020 Expo to come to the Bay Area. Think about the possibilities.

Expos are about showcasing your region and its qualities and how they fit into a common vision for the future. For 30 years, the Bay Area and Silicon Valley have been the pre-eminent hot spots for the innovation that drives the world’s technological advances. Our region already has everything we need: innovation, creativity and technology, plus leadership in sustainability.

Another plus for a Silicon Valley Expo is that, unlike an Olympic bid, the exhibit is tied to commerce, not sports. Instead of building massive sports arenas and stadiums, we would allow countries to create international pavilions — buildings we can keep or demolish — and upgrade existing infrastructure that would benefit the region for decades after the Expo is over.

Perhaps we could even create a Silicon Valley campus for the University of California, for free! Everything that’s built could be used for a whole multitude of purposes, whether academic, business-related or nonprofit. And since the Bay Area is already working on getting high-speed rail from San Jose to San Francisco, perhaps an Expo would be the right ingredient to get that project over the finish line in a way everyone can agree on.

We’ve done it before. In 1915, San Francisco hosted the Pan-Pacific International Exposition, primarily to showcase that San Francisco was back and fully recovered after the 1906 earthquake. We have the chance to do the same thing right now after enduring an economic earthquake.

If we were able to invent the microchip, the iPhone, biotechnology and the search engine, we can also lead America’s way to prominence and respect once again.

Shanghai used its Expo to show how China has arrived on the world stage. Let’s make a bid for 2020 and do ours to show we are not leaving it.