It’s all business at seminar in Seattle
China and the US are serious about business, and that was on display Tuesday in Seattle.
About 450 business leaders and government officials from the two nations gathered for the Chinese Provinces-US State Trade and Investment Cooperation Seminar, a key event during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States, which started on Tuesday in Seattle.
It was co-hosted by the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM) and Washington state, and organized by China’s Trade Development Bureau (TDB) and Washington state’s Department of Commerce.
During the seminar, Microsoft Co, based in nearby Redmond, Washington, announced partnerships with China’s major smartphone maker Xiaomi Co and Shaanxi province and also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Sichuan province.
By partnering with Xiaomi and Mi Cloud, Windows Azure, operated by 21Vianet based on Microsoft technology, will provide cloud data synchronization and backup services to Xiaomi users.
“Microsoft has been in China for more than 20 years and we are excited for the potential that lies ahead as this country encourages mobile Internet and cloud innovations to transform traditional industries and raise productivity,” said Ralph Haupter, corporate vice-president, chairman and chief executive officer of Microsoft Greater China Region.
Under the MOU signed between Microsoft and Sichuan province, which covers IT training, the incubation of startup companies, cloud computing applications and big data, the two sides will strengthen local economic development through cloud, mobile Internet and innovation.
In 2013, Microsoft invested in Xixian New Area, a development zone in Shaanxi province, to promote technologies and upgrade industries. The two sides on Tuesday pledged to deepen their partnership to build the province into an information hub for China’s “Silk Road Economic Belt” initiative.
The three-hour seminar also covered agriculture, airlines and railroads.
“Agriculture has always been an important part of Sino-US exchanges and cooperation,” said Pan Gang, chairman and president of the the Yili Industrial Group, China’s diary producer in Inner Mongolia.
Pan recalled that Xi, in a 2012 visit to the US, had agreed with President Barack Obama to deepen cooperation in eight priority areas, including food security, agricultural science and technology.
China’s per capita milk consumption is only one-tenth that of the US. The diary industry in the US is mature, but the market has become increasingly saturated, while the Chinese market is huge and consumer demand is strong.
“As per capita GDPs of many regions in China exceeds $10,000, diversified and personalized health food will be popular, so there will be large room for Sino-US innovative cooperation in agriculture and food,” Pan said.
“China has built 17,000 kilometers of high-speed railroads, taking up 60 percent of the world’s total,” said Yu Weiping, vice president of CRRC Corp Ltd. “In the US, the railway infrastructure is outdated, and technologies are outmoded. I believe there must be great business opportunities for us.”
China’s airline traffic has tripled in the past 10 years, and it is expected to be doubled in years to come. One in three of Boeing 737s will be delivered to China this year, said Randy Tinseth, vice-president of marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
“The relationship with China is clearly about growth and jobs,” he said. “We will invest in China, with China and for China. Investment in China will allow us to grow, and it’s good for our customers, suppliers and employees.”
The event also witnessed the establishment of the Joint Working Group for Trade and Investment Cooperation Between Chinese Provinces and the US State of Washington, the sixth joint working group on trade and investment promotion between Chinese provinces and a US state or city.
Zhang Xiangchen, deputy China international trade representative for MOFCOM, and Joby Shimomura, the Washington governor’s chief of staff, co-signed an MOU that will allow six Chinese provinces and municipalities — Liaoning, Shanghai, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan and Shaanxi — to expand trade and investment cooperation with Washington state.
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Leaders from the China National Nuclear Corporation and TerraPower from the US, including Bill Gates, pose for a group picture after the signing of MOU between the two sides in Seattle on Sept 22 at the Chinese Province-US States Trade and Investment Cooperation Seminar.