Governor Mitch Daniels' trip to China today brought more prospecting for jobs and renewing of acquaintances with business and government officials from Indiana's sister state, Zhejiang Province.
In the 23 years of sister-state relations between Indiana and Zhejiang Province, the two have shared many educational, cultural and business exchanges. The white marble lion statues at the entrance to the Indianapolis Zoo were given to Governor Robert Orr by Zhejiang Province officials in 1987 when the relationship was formed.
Likewise, on the grounds of the Foreign Affairs Department is "The Spirit of Man" sculpture which was given to the province by then-Governor Frank O'Bannon to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the sister state relationship.
Indiana University, Purdue University and Rose Hulman University all have higher education partnerships with Zhejiang while some of Indiana's other higher education institutions have established exchange programs.
Today Daniels and Governor Lu of Zhejiang celebrated the newest commonality-a mutual admiration for the Indianapolis Colts.
Governor Lu, the governor's Zhejiang counterpart, recently traveled to the Hoosier State and visited EnerDel, the Indiana University School of Medicine and the IU Simon Cancer Center. He also attended an Indianapolis Colts game as a guest of Daniels.
The two met again today in the Zhejiang State Xihu Hotel where Governor Lu presented Daniels with photos taken from the Colts game on November 1. Daniels reciprocated the gift with a Peyton Manning jersey and other Colts gear.
"These are gifts I am certain Governor Lu does not already have," said Daniels.
Daniels also gave Governor Lu a report on the Indiana delegation's progress during the past two days of business in Zhejiang.
"I am happy to report that I believe the relationship between our state and the Zhejiang Province is about to take a very big step forward," said Daniels. "In the past two days, we have spoken to almost 20 companies who seem very serious about coming to Indiana and allowing us to support their growth in the American market."
In addition to discussing the history of the Indiana - Zhejiang partnership, Governor Lu noted that he will soon send a medical delegation to Indiana to find opportunities for future cooperation.
Indiana's sister state agreement with the province has opened the doors to new business opportunities in the past year, including Y.K. Furniture's plans to establish its U.S. headquarters in Marion.
Daniels and Mayor Wayne Seybold met earlier today with the leadership of Y.K. Furniture to discuss progress on the company's operations in Marion.
The governor also spent time explaining Indiana's economic advantages to a manufacturing company and a pharmaceutical firm.
Economically, Zhejiang Province has a very rich business environment. Of the top 500 private enterprises in China, 170 are in Zhejiang. Zhejiang, located on the Yangtze River Delta on the southeast coast of China, is nearly the same physical size as Indiana but its population is close to 10 times that of the Hoosier State's.
Photos of today's events may be found on the Asia web page at this link: http://in.gov/gov/asia2010.htm