Gov. Rick Snyder today convened a business-to-business matchmaking session and roundtable discussion with Sichuan Executive Vice Governor Wei Hong as leaders of 21 Michigan companies continued their export mission in China. The contingent of Michigan small businesses met with prospective Chinese partners, distributors and buyers.
"Today Michigan is more business-friendly than ever, offering a strong work force, leading edge research and development and world-class manufacturing," Snyder said. "We are building a strong partnership with China, forging new opportunities for Michigan-made products and services for this important and ever-growing market."
The Michigan Economic Development Corp., which facilitated the meetings, reports more than 100 matchmaking meetings have been set up for the 21 participating Michigan companies. Several of them have also met with distributors who can sell their products throughout China, further increasing Michigan exports.
Snyder also gave a keynote address during the "Invest USA" session at the Western China International Fair, promoting Michigan as a great place for Chinese companies to do business. U.S. Ambassador to China, Gary Locke, joined Snyder for a press conference afterward with national and local Chinese media to showcase Michigan as a top destination for Chinese companies looking to expand globally. Locke said that globalization has made the economies of all countries more interconnected.
In his keynote address, Snyder said Michigan is a state ripe for export partnerships and investment with businesses in the Sichuan province - Michigan's sister state since 1982 - and surrounding regions. The fair is similar to Detroit's auto show, but is bigger and covers more than just the auto industry. The audience included approximately 100 Sichuan business leaders looking to grow their presence in the United States.
Michigan's leadership in manufacturing and an abundance of high-tech talent and top-ranking educational institutions, along with its geographic advantage being located squarely in the center of the North American global economic corridor, Snyder said, are key reasons to do business in the state.
Michigan has had a long relationship with the Sichuan province. Dow Corning and Haworth Office Furniture both have offices in Chengdu. Nearby Chongqing City, a sister city to Detroit, is home to Ford Motor Co.'s largest manufacturing base outside of Detroit. Sichuan province is one of China's largest industrial centers and major agricultural production bases.
The Invest USA Program is an American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China initiative to help interested investors in China better understand how to find and approach investment opportunities in the United States. According to Locke, there is a misconception in China that the United States is a difficult market to enter. Participants from the U.S. included the states of Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina and the city of Phoenix, Ariz.
This is Snyder's second investment mission to Asia since taking office in 2011. Last September, he led an eight-day trade mission in Asia, where he met with Japanese, Chinese and Korean government officials and major company executives to promote business opportunities in Michigan. Snyder also led a seven-day mission to Italy and Germany earlier this year where he met with senior level executives from a number of automotive and alternative energy companies, as well as government officials.