Mary­land gover­nor signs in­vest­ment, ed­u­ca­tion deals in China

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

li­jing2009@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Mary­land Gover­nor Larry Ho­gan’s first of­fi­cial visit to China con­cluded with an ar­ray of ed­u­ca­tion and busi­ness agree­ments.

Joined by a del­e­ga­tion of Mary­land busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives and higher ed­u­ca­tion lead­ers, Ho­gan wit­nessed a cer­e­mony con­sist­ing of eight sign­ings with Chi­nese com­pa­nies and ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions on June 2 in Bei­jing.

Among the part­ner­ships, two iconic Mary­land com­pa­nies — Mar­riott In­ter­na­tional and global de­sign firm RTKL — inked agree­ments with Chi­nese part­ners and con­tin­ued to ex­pand their global reach in the mar­ket. Two emerg­ing Chi­nese com­pa­nies — Shang­hai Tongji Bi­o­log­i­cal Prod­uct Co and Ankang Shi­mao Biotech­nol­ogy Co — an­nounced plans to set up United States op­er­a­tions in Mary­land’s In­ter­na­tional In­cu­ba­tor at the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, Col­lege Park.

“To­day’s cer­e­mony is just a sym­bol. But our trip here showed there’s no re­la­tion­ship that could be pos­si­bly more im­por­tant to us than our re­la­tion­ship with China,” Ho­gan said.

He added: “We think the po­ten­tial col­lab­o­ra­tions and op­por­tu­ni­ties for Chi­nese in­vestors and com­pa­nies in Mary­land and for Mary­land com­pa­nies to do busi­ness in China are great. In­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship are what we are re­ally fo­cused on. We know we share some of the goal of en­cour­ag­ing more in­no­va­tion and more en­trepreneur­ship with China.”

Ho­gan con­tin­ued that he met on June 1 with Vice-Pre­mier Liu Yan­dong and talked about how to en­cour­age in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship and cul­ti­vate tal­ents.

Mary­land ranks in the top five among the 50 US states in the US Cham­ber of Com­merce’s 2014 State New Econ­omy In­dex, in­clud­ing No 1 in the cat­e­gories of in­no­va­tion and en­trepreneur­ship.

Ho­gan ar­rived in Bei­jing on June 1, af­ter his visit to South Korea, the first stop of his three-na­tion tour in Asia in an ef­fort to de­liver the mes­sage that “Mary­land is open for busi­ness” to one of the fastest-grow­ing eco­nomic re­gions in the world.

Mary­land has long main­tained a strong pres­ence in China, be­com­ing the first US state in 1996 to open a trade and in­vest­ment of­fice in the na­tion — the Mary­land China Cen­ter.

Ho­gan said China is al­ready Mary­land’s sec­ond-largest trad­ing part­ner and, “We’d like to make it No 1 in the near fu­ture”.

China was Mary­land’s third-largest ex­port mar­ket in 2014, with $714 mil­lion in Mary­land goods shipped to the coun­try, ac­cord­ing to the Busi­ness and Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Depart­ment.

But the trade re­la­tion­ship with China is lop­sided, with the ex­port of $3.1 bil­lion to the state last year. Like many states, Mary­land is try­ing to court for­eign busi­nesses and in­vest­ment to help grow its econ­omy.

Life science and biotech­nol­ogy are the ma­jor draws for Chi­nese in­vest­ments, given that Mary­land is home to one of the five largest biotech­nol­ogy in­dus­try clus­ters in the world and is the site of the US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion and Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health, as well as The Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal, a world leader.

“We are pleased to wel­come two new Chi­nese com­pa­nies to the Mary­land In­ter­na­tional In­cu­ba­tor and help them connect with new op­por­tu­ni­ties in Mary­land,” said Ho­gan.

Kai Duh, direc­tor of the Mary­land In­ter­na­tional In­cu­ba­tor, said, “Th­ese two Chi­nese com­pa­nies plan to hire stu­dents and en­gage in joint re­search projects with fac­ulty mem­bers as an im­por­tant com­po­nent of their for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment. They bring with them in­tern­ship and re­search op­por­tu­ni­ties for the uni­ver­sity com­mu­nity in ad­di­tion to the eco­nomic im­pacts on our great Mary­land econ­omy.”

Wal­lace D. Loh, pres­i­dent of the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, Col­lege Park, where the in­cu­ba­tor is lo­cated, said the rea­son the Chi­nese com­pa­nies have to come is that they also hope to open an of­fice in the US some day and the start­ing point is to es­tab­lish a small re­search op­er­a­tion as the first step.

“It is not just re­search with some stu­dents and pro­fes­sion­als, but also to es­tab­lish busi­ness con­nec­tions to the US mar­ket,” said Zhao Kuis­han, pres­i­dent of Ankang Shi­mao Biotech­nol­ogy Co, which is spe­cial­ized in biotech anti-riot ma­te­rial. The com­pany in­vested $1.5 mil­lion in the project in Mary­land, which is also its first foray into the US.

Wang Yun­hua, pres­i­dent of Shang­hai Tongji Bi­o­log­i­cal Prod­uct Co, said his com­pany in­vested $3 mil­lion in the first phase of project and planned to add more as it en­tered the US mar­ket via the gate­way of Mary­land.

When asked about the se­cu­rity of the state and the re­cent un­rest in Bal­ti­more, Wang said he be­lieved the state is very safe for in­vest­ment as it is ge­o­graph­i­cally very close to Wash­ing­ton, DC.

In ad­di­tion to the busi­ness part­ner­ships, the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, Bal­ti­more, signed an agree­ment with the Af­fil­i­ated Hos­pi­tals of Qing­dao Uni­ver­sity to ex­plore schol­arly and lead­er­ship ex­change pro­grams and also work to­gether on a health­care lead­er­ship-train­ing pro­gram. The Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land, Col­lege Park, signed aca­demic part­ner­ships with Bei­jing Mu­nic­i­pal Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion and the Bei­jing Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy.

Ho­gan left China for Ja­pan on June 3, the last stop of his 12-day trade mission to Asia.

Larry Ho­gan,

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