Alabama preps US-China manufacturing symposium

Updated: 2013-09-05 10:55

By Caroline Berg in New York (China Daily)

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Alabama preps US-China manufacturing symposium

Students in Dothan, Alabama get a taste of 3-D printing after a Chinese company donated 3-D printers to a couple of local institutions on Tuesday, in preparation for the upcoming US-China Manufacturing Symposium. Courtesy of Dothan Eagle

About 800 people, including some 400 Chinese business leaders, will take part in the first US-China Manufacturing Symposium in November, according to the head of the group planning the event.

"There's a lot of excitement going on right now," Raymond Cheng, CEO of SoZo Group, said about the event, which will take place Nov 10-12 in Dotham, Alabama, population 66,010. The symposium is a collaborative effort between SoZo Group and the China Chamber of International Commerce.

Cheng said the opening speaker of 62 scheduled speakers will be US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sanchez. Cheng said he will travel with Sanchez to Beijing next week to give presentations on the importance of joint enterprises and trade between China and the US.

"Dothan has the trappings of a big city, but with all of the flavor of a small community," Cheng said. "The community has excelled in large manufacturing, but it's also a unique tourist town located close to the Gulf Coast."

The city is seeking many volunteers to help with the symposium, including residents, who can speak Chinese, said the town's mayor, Mike Schmitz, in a Dothan Eagle newspaper report.

Cheng said plans include a US-China golf match on the opening day and a cultural night on the second day, which will include a variety of Chinese entertainment. The town will open up its opera house, as well as the city square where vendors will serve food from local restaurants for a true taste of the South.

On Tuesday, Liu Zhang, vice chairman and general manager of China's Jiangsu Zijin Group Co Ltd, donated a 3D printer to Linda Young, president of Wallace College in Dothan. Zhang also donated a 3-D printer to Terry Scott, principal of Dothan Technology Center. Cheng said the Chinese 3-D manufacturer's visit was meant to improve cross-culture business relations as it looks for opportunities in Dotham to set up operations in the community.

"I want to bridge the US-China gap," Cheng said. "I also want to demonstrate to people that technology does come out from China."

Some of the representatives of Chinese enterprises will also visit and look at industries in two other Alabama towns - Thomasville, population 4,186, and Monroeville, population 6,433, according to a local report.

"The ultimate goal is to bring the people a step closer toward better understanding," Cheng said. "It's like if you travel to China, you realize, 'Oh, the Chinese aren't all six-headed monsters; they're not here to buy out America.' And it's the same thing for the Chinese to understand that Americans are wonderful people, too."


(China Daily USA 09/05/2013 page2)