China mayors tour Silicon Valley

Updated: 2014-10-20 12:22

By Lian Zi in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Chinese businesses can learn a lot from Silicon Valley, according to a delegation of Chinese local officials who visited California last week.

"Silicon Valley's great advantages in attracting talents and protecting the environment are widely acknowledged," said Wang Fang, vice-mayor of Xiaogan in Hubei province.

Wang said that although the political systems are different in China and the US, they still can learn from each other in various fields.

Wang is one of the 13 executive officers and nine vice-mayors from China who visited the city of Menlo Park in Northern California on Oct 17. They exchanged ideas on a host of issues, in particular on technology and the environment, with California local officials.

"Silicon Valley creates a great ecosystem and comprehensive support, including tax-deduction policy and financial support for high-tech companies to grow," said Zhang Qi, vice-secretary general of the Chinese Overseas Friendship. "Even though some of the high-tech industries in China labeled themselves as China's Silicon Valley, they only locate several enterprises in the industrial parks without any necessary guidance and support."

The delegation's aim was to promote the exchange of ideas and enhance relationships in fields including education, technology, innovation, social services, small business development, cultural affairs and agriculture, said Zhang.

Zhang told China Daily that the delegation visited Cisco Systems and other companies in Silicon Valley last week. The delegates on the California trip represent Beijing, Shanghai and eight provinces in China, including Hunan, Hubei, Shandong, Guangdong provinces.

China mayors tour Silicon Valley

Hu Hanyang, vice-mayor of Jiyuan, Henan province, said: "We want to realize the industrial connection between our city and US by attracting more business from Silicon Valley during this visit."

The event recognized Menlo Park's significant role in Silicon Valley and the city's dedication in promoting international exchanges, especially on local government management and economic development.

Both China and the US are strong in information technology development. There are certain areas in which the US is ahead, while China also has much to teach theUSin otherfields,such asmobile technology.

"We should learn from each other," said Michael Brownrigg, city council member of Burlingame, California.

Brownrigg also outlined the current challenges faced by the two countries.

As the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases,China and the US face serious environmental challenges, he said.

"We all have to grow, but we should together find better ways to provide clean energy," he said.

Brownrigg said that cities in China and California should work together to protect clean water and clean up polluted water.

"When I came back from China, I actually reached out to green technology firms here in Silicon Valley because firms especially in Shanghai expressed their interest in joining hands with us," said Menlo Park Mayor Ray Mueller.

Zhang said that Western countries also should note that the Chinese government has made efforts to reduce the consumption of nonrenewable energy and improve energy utilization by accelerating the development of clean energy.

Mueller said his visit to China earlier this year, when he met with 10 other local mayors and vice-mayors, left him with a good impression.

In June, he spent nearly two weeks in China to learn more about the country's economic, cultural and technological infrastructure and to encourage investment in Silicon Valley.

Zhang said the event was part of a 21-day training program. "During our visit in [the] US, these officials could learn from American cities about social management and explore more opportunities to connect their cities with US counterparts," said Zhang, who added that the delegation will visit New York after leaving the San Francisco Bay Area.

 China mayors tour Silicon Valley

Ray Mueller (fifth from left, first row), mayor of the city of Menlo Park, California; Zhang Qi (fourth from right, first row), vice secretary-general of the Chinese Overseas Friendship Association; and Catherine Carlton (third from right), City Council member of Menlo Park, join a Chinesemayoral delegation atRosewood Sand Hill Hotel in Menlo Park on Oct 17. The delegates included 13 executive officers and nine vice-mayors from China. They will visit other US cities this month.  Lian Zi / China Daily

(China Daily USA 10/20/2014 page2)