Chinese firms seek partners in Virginia

Updated: 2014-06-06 11:50

By Chen Weihua in Herndon, Virginia (China Daily USA)

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 Chinese firms seek partners in Virginia

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (left) presents a gift to Frank Cao, secretary general of Global Alliance of SMEs (China), who led a team of 96 Chinese entrepreneurs from 84 SMEs in China to visit Virginia looking for investment opportunities. Cai Chunying / China Daily

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who has been a successful businessman himself, knows well how to promote his state to a group of some 100 Chinese entrepreneurs from small and medium companies coming to the United States to seek business opportunities.

"I know you are going to New York. You've been to Chicago. Forget those places. You're here in Virginia where it's all happening," McAuliffe said at the opening of US-China Enterprises Virginia Partnership Conference on Thursday at the Center for Innovation Technology in Herndon, Virginia.

McAuliffe cited the pro-business environment, low taxes, low regulation, promoting entrepreneurs to help business grow as the main reasons why Virginia has been named the best state in the US to do business in by Forbes magazine and CNBC.

He touted the state's infrastructure in transportation, deep-water port and education.

"So let me just say, folks, we want to do business with you. We thank you folks today who are already doing business with us. We want to grow together," said McAuliffe, who has been to China many times but will go for the first time in October as governor, leading a trade mission.

"And I will be signing deals with each and every person in this room today," he told the visiting Chinese delegation.

Before his speech, McAuliffe was surrounded by Chinese entrepreneurs who wanted to chat with him and pose for a photo.

China is already the largest customer of Virginia's agricultural and forestry products and one of the state's largest trade partners. China also is a top 15 global investor in Virginia.

McAuliffe said Air China's flight from Beijing to Dulles International Airport starting June 10 and China's recent decision to lift the ban of poultry export from the US mean great business opportunities for Virginia.

The 96 Chinese entrepreneurs in the delegation come from diversified businesses from manufacturing and finance to agriculture and modern service.

Hong Yi, head of the Nantong Sidano (International) Hometextile Technology Co Ltd, said he is trying to find business partnerships with US companies in both textiles and real estate.

"I'd also like to learn how textile firms in the US operate," said Hong.

Qi Zeshou, from the Shanxi Tianli Ecological Technology Development Co Ltd, has been engaged in both modern agriculture and tourism.

Qi, who has invested in agriculture in Australia, said he is seeking opportunities in farming and tourism, but sighed saying that the trip was short and he didn't get much time to interact with businesses in Chicago.

Jim Pekarsky, CEO of BioPharmx, a company based in Menlo Park, California, has followed the delegation from Chicago to Virginia.

Pekarsky, who was busy talking to Chinese businessmen at his booth on Thursday afternoon, said China will be a huge market for his company's health and wellness products, such as injectable dermal fillers and breast health pills.

Frank Cao, secretary-general of the Global Alliance of SMES in China, is the main organizer for the trip, in partnership with Virginia Economic Development Partnership and US-China Exchange Association.

Cao said he has organized trips for 68 business groups to the US since 2001.

"It is to help build a global platform for these Chinese entrepreneurs in investment, human resources and branding and help them cooperate with foreign businesses at a higher level," Cao said.

According to Cao, more than 100 Chinese businesses have developed trade, technology and branding cooperation after their trips in the past years, some have even got listed on Nasdaq.

Joe Han, president of China Telecom (Americas) Corp, said such a gathering will help those Chinese companies seeking to do business and invest in the US and it will help the US companies as well.

"These businesses are all potential clients for China Telecom," said Han. China Telecom Americas was the sponsor of the event on Thursday.

After Virginia, the Chinese entrepreneurs will go to New York and Las Vegas, where they will meet more American counterparts.