Two economic development staffers returned from Chongqing, China this week hosting an eventful delegation of nearly 20 people from around the region. The trip marks the first year anniversary of the City’s office that is directly located in Chongqing, a large metropolitan city with 33 million people.
“As we continue to build these relationships with an international city, it’s apparent that we have something in common and look forward to creating opportunities that are mutual, advantageous and economical,” said Jim Rinehart, economic development director. “We have a great appreciation for their culture and their inclination to do business with us. We are committed to working with them for many years to come.”
Building relationships internationally is a critical and necessary step to encouraging future economic development.
The trip accomplished four things:
- Elevated Sacramento’s Profile in China. To help realize that end, the City sponsored an English-speaking contest among high school students throughout Chongqing. The twist is that the competitors were required to speak about Sacramento. Six students will be coming here as a result.
- Solicited Chinese investment in Sacramento. While in Chongqing, the delegation hosted an investment forum where the delegation comprised of local business representatives presented ten projects we believed will be of interest to Chinese investors. These projects were selected because they all entail significant economic benefit to our city and region. The goal is to bring representatives from Chongqing back to Sacramento this fall to discuss further these opportunities.
- Promoted Sacramento area exports. Shipping goods, especially perishable agricultural produce, to markets in China’s interior has long faced serious logistical and administrative hurdles. Our representatives in Chongqing have been successful in breaking down some of these barriers with the cooperation of local government officials. As a result, we are now able to ship products directly to a California Pavilion that has been established in a major free trade zone in Chongqing. Fresh, first in season cherries made their debut last week in southwest China. In a matter of 30 minutes, they were sold out.
- Furthered educational and cultural ties. Last year, more than 100 students and 50 faculty from Chongqing came to the Sacramento area to participate in programs at our colleges and universities. Apart from helping raise our region’s profile in one of China’s fastest-growing regions, those visitors contributed more than $3 million to our economy through tuition fees and personal spending.
More info about our partnership can be found on our Economic Development website.