Air­line exec sees bright side for China and US

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICAS - By CINDY LIU in Los An­ge­les cindyliu@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

China and the United States can work to­gether on is­sues such as en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, ter­ror­ism, nu­clear co­op­er­a­tion and hu­man­i­tar­ian aid, but for that to be suc­cess­ful, the US me­dia have to change how they por­tray China to Americans, said an ex­ec­u­tive of Air China North Amer­ica.

“Amer­i­can me­dia have to make sure that they are not ex­ag­ger­at­ing what they see in China,” said Chi Zhi­hang, vi­cepres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of Air China North Amer­ica.

Chi’s speech, US China Re­la­tions in the New World Or­der, was hosted by Town Hall Los An­ge­les, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, at the City Club in down­town Los An­ge­les on Thurs­day.

Chi said that per­sonal trust be­tween lead­ers of the two coun­ties is im­por­tant. US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, Los An­ge­les Mayor Eric Garcetti and a Los An­ge­les trade del­e­ga­tion will at­tend the Asia Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion sum­mit in Beijing from Nov 10-12.

“I would say to ac­cept our dif­fer­ences and to fo­cus on our agree­ment,” he said.

Kim McCleary , pres­i­dent of Town Hall, said Chi was in­vited to speak be­cause he has got Air China deeply in­volved in eco­nomic, cul­tural and aca­demic col­lab­o­ra­tions with the US.

Lil­li­beth Bishop, di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing and pub­lic re­la­tions at Air China, told China Daily that Chi, who has a master’s and a doc­toral de­gree from the Mass­chusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy’s Sloan School of Man­age­ment, “is a good ex­am­ple of how to suc­ceed in both cul­tures”.

Chi man­ages more than 175 US-based Air China em­ploy­ees and over­sees mar­ket­ing and op­er­a­tions for flights be­tween North Amer­ica and China. Chi is a re­cip­i­ent of the China Business Lead­er­ship Award from the US China Pol­icy Foun­da­tion. The honor was for his con­tri­bu­tions to a greater un­der­stand­ing be­tween Amer­i­can and Chi­nese pol­i­cy­mak­ers and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials.

Tourism has quadru­pled over the past four years, from 158,000 Chi­nese tourists in 2009 to 570,000 in 2013, mak­ing China the top over­seas mar­ket for Los An­ge­les tourism, ac­cord­ing to a June Los An­ge­les County Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion re­port.

“Air China seized the business op­por­tu­nity,” Chi said. “When I first came to Los An­ge­les, there were only three Beijing-Los An­ge­les flights in a week. And now there are 14 flights in a week. ”

Air China launched a di­rect flight from Hous­ton to Beijing in July 2013, ex­pand­ing it to four times a week in March 2014. Also that month, Air China added a sec­ond New York-Beijing flight.

Chi em­pha­sized that China has no in­ten­tion to com­pete with the US.

Chi said that three days after China an­nounced the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic re­la­tions with the US on Dec 15 in 1978, Deng Xiaop­ing, then chair­man of the CPPCC (Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence) Na­tional Com­mit­tee, an­nounced re­forms in China. “It is not a co­in­ci­dence,” Chi said.

“I do see frus­tra­tions among peo­ple on both sides when they do business to­gether,” he said.

CINDY LIU / CHINA DAILY

Chi Zhi­hang, vice-pres­i­dent and gen­eral man­ager of Air China North Amer­ica, de­liv­ers a speech on Thurs­day at Town Hall Los An­ge­les in down­town Los An­ge­les.

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