In­no­va­tors, in­vestors con­nect in Hous­ton

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By MAY ZHOU in Hous­ton mayzhou@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

The leader of a Hous­ton in­no­va­tion group wants to build a high­level plat­form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the US and China.

Bernard Har­ris, chair­man of the US China In­no­va­tion Al­liance (UCIA), said on Tues­day that he also wants to help ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists, ac­cel­er­a­tors and in­cu­ba­tors from both coun­tries to work to­gether through the US China In­no­va­tion and In­vest­ment Sum­mit.

“Most of us in­volved in in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy know that the East Coast and West Coast in the US are well rec­og­nized,” Har­ris said.

“This con­fer­ence high­lights what I call the third coast: the Gulf Coast. There are a lot of in­no­va­tions in medicine, IT and aero­space. Hous­ton is ripe for in­vestors to come to take a look,” he said.

Chi­nese in­vestors got a close look at var­i­ous US projects at the first USCIIS in Hous­ton on Mon­day and Tues­day. About 400 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 150 from China, at­tended the event.

The sum­mit, hosted by UCIA, the China Science and Tech­nol­ogy Ex­change Cen­ter and In­ter­na­tional Tech­nol­ogy Trans­fer Net­work, was sup­ported by more than 30 or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the Hous­ton Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter and Texas Med­i­cal Cen­ter.

Har­ris said that the UCIA in­tends to make the sum­mit an an­nual event. It also plans in the next year to do road shows in China high­light­ing US com­pa­nies and to host an in­ter­na­tional busi­ness plan com­pe­ti­tion.

Jin Xiaom­ing, di­rec­tor gen­eral at China’s Min­istry of Science and Tech­nol­ogy, told the con­fer­ence that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has put in­no­va­tion at the core of the coun­try’s de­vel­op­ment. The gov­ern­ment is pro­mot­ing in­no­va­tion with pol­icy as well as fund­ing.

“In 2015, the Chi­nese R&D fund ac­counts for 2.1 per­cent of GDP. China ranks No 2 af­ter the US in the world on R&D spend­ing,” Jin said.

Chi­nese Con­sul Gen­eral Li Qiang­min said this sum­mit rightly an­swers the needs of both Chi­nese and US en­ter­prises.

“Trade and in­vest­ment be­tween China and the US have grown rapidly in re­cent years, and a high level and re­li­able in­no­va­tion and in­vest­ment match­mak­ing plat­form was much needed,” Li said.

Hous­ton Mayor Sylvester Turner en­cour­aged the Chi­nese in­vestors to in­vest more in the city.

“We are al­ways look­ing for part­ners. The re­la­tion­ship be­tween Hous­ton and China has been a very good one, but there is a lot of room for ad­di­tional growth,” said Turner.

Ac­cord­ing to Julie Dai, one of the con­fer­ence or­ga­niz­ers, the sum­mit pre-matched 100 US projects to Chi­nese com­pa­nies and in­vestors. Dur­ing the con­fer­ence, about 50 US in­no­va­tive projects were pre­sented to the Chi­nese del­e­gates dur­ing tours to Texas Med­i­cal Cen­ter and Hous­ton Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter as well as dur­ing B2B ses­sions.

Ex­perts from both China and US dis­cussed new­est tech­nolo­gies in health­care, en­ergy and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, and shared their chal­lenges and suc­cesses in cross-bor­der in­no­va­tion and in­vest­ment.

Freya Preimes­berger in Hous­ton con­trib­uted to this story.

MAY ZHOU / CHINA DAILY

From left: Hous­ton Mayor Sylvester Turner, Chi­nese Con­sul Gen­eral Li Qiang­min and US China In­no­va­tion Al­liance chair­man Bernard Har­ris at­tend the first US China In­no­va­tion and In­vest­ment Sum­mit in Hous­ton on Tues­day.

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