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Building Business Ties with China
April 12, 2012
GW hosts D.C. mayor, district business leaders for discussion about becoming “export ready.”
On the heels of a partnership agreement signed by George Washington University and the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP) in Jiangsu, China, the university Tuesday hosted D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, Deputy Mayor Victor Hoskins and representatives from the district’s Department of Small and Local Business Development for a discussion on expanding business opportunities in China.
The discussion, attended by district business owners and Chinese officials, focused on how D.C. can help prepare its businesses to be “export ready” and develop relationships with Chinese government, industry and consumers.
George Washington President Steven Knapp introduced Mayor Gray and highlighted GW’s strong connections to China.
“Our university is very fortunate to have many ties to China,” Dr. Knapp said. “At present, we have nearly 800 students from China who are currently studying here. Our Elliott School has a quite distinguished center called the Sigur Center for Asian Studies that includes many leading experts on China….and the dean of our School of Business, Doug Guthrie, is a renowned China scholar.”
Dr. Knapp said the partnership with the SIP, established in March, will be called the GW-China Research Institute, and will build on existing GW work educating finance students in China. The new educational opportunities will be provided initially through the GW School of Business and within the SIP’s Suzhou Dushu Lake Science Education and Innovation District.
Mayor Gray said the district’s economy is changing as the federal government shrinks, and that D.C. must innovate in order to thrive. “China proves every day that the impossible is possible,” he said. “Technology is the future of this city, and we look forward to expanding our relationships internationally to be able to explore it.”
Ning Shao, president of MBC Shanghai and chief executive of the Pennsylvania Center in Shanghai, a business development organization, spoke to district business leaders about making their businesses attractive to Chinese investors and ready for collaboration with Chinese partners. He provided eight steps to tap into the Chinese market, including building a strong brand, being flexible in China’s fast-changing economy and building a multinational team with players both at home and in the Chinese target market.
In January, Mayor Gray launched ExportDC, a program that offers local businesses assistance with overseas marketing efforts. For certain qualified district businesses, grants are also available to cover trade missions, international trade shows, export training and translation services. ExportDC is planning two trade missions for 2012, to Brazil and South Africa. More information about becoming involved is available online.