Atlanta was one of only three American cities represented at a major expo in NanjingChina, aimed at fostering communication between cities that boast prominent cultural and historical assets.

Invest Atlanta Vice President Bill Cronin attended the 2012 World Historical and Cultural Cities Exposition, which was held Sept. 5-9 and focused on how creativity generates business growth in cities, according to a news release. The only other American cities at the event were San Antonio, Texas, and Santa Fe, N.M. 

During a Sept. 7 seminar held at the new Chi-Lin Innovation Park, Mr. Cronin highlighted the recently launched Startup Atlanta program, which aims to consolidate and promote assets that encourage the “creative class” to come to Atlanta and stay. He heard similar ambitions from fellow panelists, who hailed from Limerick, Ireland; Daejeon, Korea; Leipzig, GermanyCopenhagen, Denmark; and Osaka, Japan

“It was very interesting to hear them all speaking a similar language, and that was not English or Mandarin, but had more to do with innovation, entrepreneurship and global vision,” Mr. Cronin told GlobalAtlanta. 

Not only could Mr. Cronin interact with leaders from the 52 international cities slated to attend, but he also was able to build on a solid relationship developing between Atlanta and Nanjing.

Along with Invest Atlanta President and CEO Brian McGowan, Mr. Cronin represented the city’s economic development arm on a delegation to China led by Mayor Kasim Reed in March. At the time, Mr. Reed signed a memorandum of understanding on mutual investment with Nanjing Mayor Ji Jianye, who had previously visited Atlanta.

During Mr. Reed’s March trip, the Metro Atlanta Chamber helped arrange a business forum where 30-40 Nanjing companies mingled with the more than 20 companies that traveled with the Atlanta delegation. While visiting Nanjing this month, Mr. Cronin talked with some investment prospects he hadn’t been able to meet on previous trips. 

He said the relationship between Atlanta and Nanjing has naturally progressed because of the cities’ similarities. Both have a strong base of research universities and play an outsize role in their regional economies. They also have a shared sense of preserving human rights and an appreciation for holding onto the past while looking toward the future, he said. 

For more information on Invest Atlanta’s efforts to attract investment from China, contact Mr. Cronin at

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...