Shandong delegation eyes California trade

Updated: 2014-06-02 11:38

By Chang Jun in Santa Clara (China Daily USA)

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How delightful to have friends come from afar, China's greatest philosopher Confucius said 2,500 years ago. On Friday business leaders and officials from his hometown, Shandong province, brought greetings - as well as trade and investment opportunities - to cheer the Golden State.

In an effort to create more vibrant and multi-faceted cooperation between the two economic powerhouses, the governor of Shandong province Guo Shuqing led a 150-member delegation from 22 companies and government agencies to attend the California-Shandong High-Level Trade and Investment Conference.

The conference, focused on high tech, finance, clean energy and life sciences, aims to build a stronger bilateral relationship between Shandong and California, and set up direct networking between local California firms and Shandong companies across a range of industries.

The delegation also brought 200 featured foreign cooperation projects, which center around fields of ocean development, machinery and equipment manufacturing, energy conservation and environmental protection, business and trade and social science and technology and service outsourcing.

With a population approaching 100 million on 157,000 square kilometers of territory, Shandong is economically strong on the national level, said Guo. "We've fulfilled an annual GDP growth rate of 9.6 percent in 2013, while the number in the first quarter this year is 8.7 percent," he said.

Shandong has a long history of close economic relations with the United States, said Guo, adding the US remains the 5th-largest foreign direct investor to the East China province. "In total, 1,186 American companies, including international big ones like HP, have set up branches in Shandong with a total investment exceeding $800 million," said Guo.

In 2013, companies and investors from Shandong brought a total of $476 million into the US, while the investment from the US to Shandong was $380 million. "We are confident that more and more Shandong companies will come to the US to invest," Guo said.

Earlier this year, Shandong Airlines, one of China's smaller carriers, said it had agreed to buy 50 passenger planes from US manufacturer Boeing for $4.6 billion.

As for Sun Pishu, chairman and CEO of the IT company Inspur Group, the US is an untapped market with huge potential. Sun outlined Inspur's development outlook in the US including establishing an R&D center in North America as well as attracting investment for its expansion in cloud computing services in China.

"Headquartered in the top GDP province in the second largest economy in the world, Inspur sincerely invites all the top talents to join together with out partners, in planning the great global undertaking at the right time," said Sun.

Song Ruan, deputy consul-general from the San Francisco Consulate General, said Shandong and California share a lot common interests. Both places boast abundant marine resources and large populations and are economic powerhouses and tourist destinations.

Vigorous efforts are being made to advance marine economy, explore marine resources in a scientific way and to foster competitive marine industries around its four ports - Qingdao, Yantai, Weihai and Rizhao. Shandong is actively promoting the development of a Blue Economic Zone on the Shandong Peninsula.

Shandong is China's largest supplier of agricultural products, coal and crude oil, and wins nationwide fame for its "three sea treasures": donkey-hide gelatin, sea kelp and sea cucumber. Its industry includes such pillar sectors as energy, chemicals, metallurgy, construction materials, machinery, electronics, textile and foodstuff.

"Why had the Shandong delegation flown so far, about 6,000 miles, from their hometown to California?" Song asked. "I believe they are here for win-win co-operation."

While Shandong is accelerating transformation of its economic development mode and pushing forward new industries such as IT, high-tech, new energy, bio-pharmaceutical and finance, "the two places could be complementary with each other as California is strong in these areas," said Song, adding the two places already started working on combating climate change.

Shandong delegation eyes California trade

Visiting Shandong Governor Guo Shuqing (left) shakes hands with Song Ruan, deputy consul general in San Francisco, before the California-Shandong High-Level Trade and Investment Conference starts on May 30. Guo led a delegation of 150 to seek cooperation opportunities with the Golden State. Chang Jun / China Daily

(China Daily USA 06/02/2014 page1)