Metro Atlanta Chamber and Georgia Power leaders are on a two-week trip to 11 cities in China to continue building the Atlanta brand in the world’s second largest economy.
The trip is a continuation of the chamber’s longstanding China outreach strategy, including meetings with investment prospects, industry-leading companies and economic development organizations, said Jorge Fernandez, vice president of global commerce at the chamber.
Most of the cities, including Hong Kong, have been visited by chamber delegations before, but this time they will also head into a city in China’s far northeast: Harbin, known its cold temperatures and strengths in heavy industry and information technology.
“What we try to do on every trip is go to the cities that we’ve normally reached out to in the past, but we also like to incorporate a new city that we can explore,” said Mr. Fernandez, who is not traveling with the group.
Last year he spent a month in China as a guest lecturer at a university in Hangzhou. He used the opportunity to attend industry conferences and build the Atlanta brand at the grassroots level, work that the current delegation is building on.
Mr. Fernandez acknowledged that the Chinese stock of foreign investment in the U.S. is small, but he pointed to research showing that Chinese investment is now responsible for creating or sustaining 70,000 jobs in the U.S. That number projected to grow substantially as the Chinese government continues to urge its companies to expand abroad.
For Atlanta, it’s all about staying in front of key players, he said.
“We cannot just stop going there,” he said, noting that relationships are key in Chinese business. “We need to make sure that we maintain that contact with a culture like this.”
The China trip will also include a visit to the Savannah College of Art & Design‘s campus in Hong Kong.
Visit www.metroatlantachamber.com for more information.
Read Mr. Fernandez’s blog posts from his time in Hangzhou here.