Investors tour Bay Area

Updated: 2015-03-20 12:16

By Lia Zhu in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Investors tour Bay Area

US Ambassador to China Max Baucus (center) wtih a delegation of Chinese investors at San Francisco City Hall on Thursday during their visit to the Bay Area. [Lia Zhu / China Daily]

A delegation of top Chinese executives in real estate and technology visited the San Francisco Bay Area with the aim of learning about US markets and making investments.

On invitation by the US Department of Commerce, the delegation, headed by US Ambassador to China Max Baucus, visited real estate projects and business incubators, met with local government officials, and talked with tax and law experts who have experience in Chinese investment, during their three-day visit to the Bay Area.

Around 30 delegates left San Francisco for Los Angeles on Thursday, the last leg of their trip before the SelectUSA Investment Summit, to be held next Monday and Tuesday in Washington. They had also visited Seattle before San Francisco.

The three cities are among the favorites of Chinese investors. Some of the delegates have invested in those cities and planned to make further investments, said Darlene Chiu Bryant, executive director of ChinaSF, an entity that aims to promote business and trade between China and the Bay Area. She coordinated the events for the delegation in San Francisco.

The delegation's first program was a roundtable talk with Silicon Valley mayors on Tuesday, where they were briefed about the development of the valley and local projects.

"The delegates showed great interest in Silicon Valley," said Stephanie Xu, president of US-Asia Innovation Gateway, co-sponsor of the event and a non-profit corporation committed to advancing economic opportunities and investment between Asia and the US.

A Chinese solar panel manufacturer plans to set up a factory in California in response to the US import limit and broader anti-dumping and anti-subsidy tariffs on solar panels from China, Xu said.

Another enterprise, which produces artificial cornea, intends to expand its R&D center to Silicon Valley, she said.

On Wednesday's meeting with accountants, the delegates were told that US taxes are not as heavy as they may have believed.

"They told us taxes, in some situations, can be avoided, and the accountants can help us. It would help those who have limited knowledge and experience of the US tax laws," said one of the delegates, who declined to be named.

Despite the positive feedback, the trip's organizer tried to maintain a low profile by closing its doors to media. A source, who also requested anonymity, said a few deals have been signed during the trip but declined to disclose further details.

SelectUSA, established by President Barack Obama in 2011, is aimed at promoting and facilitating business investment into the United States, to create jobs and spur economic growth.

Last year, Chinese investment in the US reached $12 billion, topping the $10 billion mark for the second year in a row.

In 2013, Chinese annual foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US exceeded FDI by US companies into China.

However, China has a growth target of approximately 7 percent in 2015, lower than last year's 7.4 percent.

Due to the slower economic growth, Chinese investors are expected to be more cautious, said Xu.