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Chinese delegation in Chicago

Wednesday 10 November, 2010

The Minority Business Development Authority (MBDA) hosted a delegation from Zhejiang, China @ the MBDA Globalization Business Forum – Meet China Businesses which seemed to be organized by MeetChinaBiz.org    Chicago was their 1st stop on a tour of New York City, Philadelphia, & Washington, D.C.  George Mui, of MBDA noted that there are 5M minority businesses in the US which generate $700B in revenue.  The MBDA’s China program was created 2 years ago & featured a trip to China last December.

Gao Yingzhong, Dir Gen of Zhejiang SME Bureau, informed us about his homeland.  Zhejiang province is #4 in GDP in China with a population of 51M in 100K km2.  A couple of features of Zhejiang’s GDP are

  1. 75% of all companies are privately-owned.
  2. the province has 2.6M SME’s, which comprise 99.9% of all companies, employ 90% of all employees, & generate 82% of exports of the province.

Zhejiang is going through some growing pains.  The province lacks technology, human resources, industry structure, & management know-how.  This event was organized to enhance their competitiveness.

Mary Roberts, Deputy Dir of IL Dept of Commerce & Econ Opportunity, let us know Illinois has had a presence in China for almost 40 years.  It opened its 1st office in Hong Kong in 1974 & 1 in Shanghai in 2000.  China is Illinois’ 3rd largest trading partner & trade is up 40% through the 1st 2 quarters of 2010.  30 Chinese companies have established operations in Illinois, led by BYD, China Cargo Air, & Cosc0.

Elizabeth Harrington, Exec Dir of Chicago-China Economic Development Center (CEDC), highlighted 2 of China’s most successful companies which were established in Chicago, BYD 11 years ago, & another 15 years ago.  She believes that Chicago is 1 of the most Chinese cities in the U.S.  Chicago copied the Chinese model of economic zones & the CEDC is similar to many Chinese organizations.

Lucy Kruse of Mesirow Financial, let us know they’ve started a Chinese Financial Market Initiative in investment banking for Chinese companies coming to America.  They provide due diligence, research, insurance, & risk management services in this area.

After the speeches concluded, we were led to 1on1 meetings for the Chinese with  41 mostly Chicago, IL based companies @ tabletop exhibits.  For some reason, they erroneously included my company, gata, in the list of companies.  The Program Guide said that an appendix would include a directory of the Chinese companies attending-I believe they’re listed here.

My $.02-My impression is this event was targeted more @ the visiting Chinese than locals.  There seemed to be more Chinese attendees than Chicagoans, & relatively few minority business owners.  Bob Mravinac, Program Dir of MeetChinabiz did not do a very good job as Master of Ceremonies.  He appeared quite unorganized & simply did not present himself well.  Shawn He, Chairman of MeetChinaBiz had a fever, so he said only a few words to save his energy so that he could make it through the day.

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