Home > Uncategorized > Day 2 – Making Business Connections in Chongqing

Day 2 – Making Business Connections in Chongqing

Here is a summary of what occurred on Monday, November 21:

 

Team London at Haizhuang Windpower.

The man to Joe’s right is Zhu Ming, Director of International Business Dept of Haizhuang Windpower. Others in picture are Jinshan Group employees – from left – Walt Shi, International Sales Director;  Antonio Yang, Project Manager; Ms. Jingjing Chen, Investment Manager; Simba Gong, Vice CTO.

Consulate picture from this morning.

Vice Consul Lindsay Margenau and Consul Keith Kan are between Joe and George Baran.  Trade Commissioner Peter Liao is toward the right

London Chamber of Commerce Visit to China – Day 2

Early Morning     – visit to the Canadian Consulate’s Office in Chongqing.  We were provided an overview of Chongqing and the opportunities that exist for Canadian companies.  Chongqing is one of four Cities that has direct contact / reporting to the central Government.  This means its gets preferential treatment.  The third largest free trade zone / tax free zone is located in this area. They are currently in the process of building a high speed “freight” train that will link Chongqing with Europe (all the way to Belgium)! They expect to be able to get goods all the way to Belgium in 13 or less days. Chongqing is situated on the Yangtze River (3rd longest river in the world).  It links Chongqing directly to Shanghai on the coast.  So it can also ship goods the other way in a relatively cost effective manner.  To-date, there are 27 Canadian Companies that have established a presence in Chongqing. There is no one dominating sector.  The sectors represented include Financial, Trading and Education providers.  Canada’s four priorities for this area revolve around Governance, Environment, Health and Trade and Investment.  Environment (ex. water purification), health (ex. support in training physicians, export of devices and services to this sector) and trade / investment hold the most promise for London.  Canadian Universities that have entered into relationships with local stakeholders include Dalhousie University, University of British Columbia and University of Alberta.  Automotive parts manufacturing is becoming big here.  They hold a 30% cost advantage to their Chinese neighbours to the east.  This manufacturing cost advantage has not gone unnoticed.  HP just recently invested in this area to create the largest notebook manufacturing plant in the world.  Chongqing is growing very rapidly and we are arriving at an opportune time given that they are starting to build contacts and relationships with the outside world.  Until recently Chongqing was dedicated to producing goods and services for the domestic economy only. 

Late morning – we met with certain officials and were provided with draft MOUs for our consideration.  One of the MOUs pertains to establishing a relationship with the Chongqing Private Owned Business Association. 

 Afternoon – we attended a meeting that included officials from various Commerce/ Industry / Chamber Gov’t and private entities. This meeting mostly catered to the Chamber of Commerce / private Sector relationships. Each of the team London members (Mayor / CSTAR / Chamber / Trudell) put on a presentation to the group.  The following then put on a presentation:

The Vice Chair of the Chongqing Federation of Industry & Commerce – this entity is responsible for forging relationships between Chongqing companies and foreign companies. This entity falls under the jurisdiction of the municipality and in many ways acts as a Chamber of Commerce.  Their membership is made up of only medium to large sized companies.  They currently have about 69,000 members.  They appear to have a network of chambers (approx. 178) that work under their umbrella.  I spoke with their Vice Chair Li Zeng.  She wants to establish a link with our Chamber and would like to discuss this at greater length with our Chamber CEO when he visits in April. If possible they would like us to exchange ideas on how we can collaborate before the visit in April so that something concrete can be signed in April.

The Vice Chair of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (Chongqing Branch) – as the name of the entity suggests it is dedicated to promoting international trade.  She identified the need to increase trade between our two countries and, in particular, with Chongqing / Southwest China.  This entity reports to the Central Government.  It was established in 1983.  I am told this entity is one of the most important entities in terms of decision making authority in the trade and investment arena. I spoke with Vice Chair Luo Ying and she would like to establish a closer relationship with the London Chamber of Commerce.  Initially, the focus would be on enhancing the exchange of information and identifying areas for greater cooperation.  She would like to discuss more concrete plans for cooperation during the next few months with the expectation that this may culminate in a more detailed plan of action / cooperation during our CEOs visit in April.

The Vice Chair of the Chongqing Private Owned Business Association – this is a private organization.  This is the model that most closely resembles our model in that it is privately funded and not a government entity per se.  It apparently has a membership that comes close to 1,000,000 members. We asked twice to make sure this was right.  I don’t know whether there was confusion between the number 100,000 and 1,000,000 in English.  Suffice to say that the membership base is very large. It was established in 1983. The Board is comprised of 187 members broken down into 52 subgroups. They have a number of similar events to our Chamber such as an Outstanding Business Achievements Awards event, after business hours networking events, and training / education seminars.  I got the sense that they have a number of companies that are interested in exploring investment opportunities in London and region.  This is the entity that wants to enter into a MOU with our Chamber prior to our departure.  The Chair of this organization is Dr.  Jinshan Wang (Chair of the Jinshan Company).

Manager of the Chongqing Shuangfu Industrial Zone – this is a park having a size in excess of 1,000,000 square metres. It is the most important industrial zone in the area.  It is primarily focused on the automotive sector.  Some of these zones are self contained communities with colleges / universities / residences / industry all in one location.  This one zone has 8 colleges with 10,000 graduates.  Chongqing municipality has over 30 square kilometers of land available for construction.  Jinshan through its real estate arm is also in the process of building a high tech park with a size of 1,600,000 square metres.  This park will also be self contained.  The thinking is the academic / industry / residence needs to be all situated in one area to maximize efficiency and collaboration.

 This is an area experiencing tremendous growth.  Last year’s growth was 17%! They are also very entrepreneurial and focused in terms of what they want to achieve.  The opening of a high speed freight rail is a good example of how this area intends to create its own unique comparative advantage over its eastern Chinese neighbours.  The coastal areas have ready access by sea / ocean to various markets, but their access to Europe (i.e. the west) is ore constrained.  Furthermore having the Yangtze River gives Chongqing good access to the coast.

All this growth is resulting in significant societal pressures.  They do not yet have a strong middle class and healthcare is not readily accessible to all.  They recognize these are challenges they must address.  Lots of opportunity for Canada to have a positive impact in this area which in turn will help to attract companies from this area to establish their NAFTA base in Canada.

During my presentation I spoke to the Chamber’s plans to establish an Asian Business Opportunities Committee. This was very well received.  I also spoke to our initiative on the SCRCC front. This is also of interest and would provide us with more clout. 

 We all went out for dinner after the presentations (approx. 7 pm).  We arrived back at the hotel at about 10:30 pm. Long day…

 Hope all is well back home. This is a fascinating country.

Joaquim

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