(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the California State Assembly Select Committee on Asia/California Trade and Investment Promotion, convened a hearing for lawmakers and business leaders to discuss economic ties between China and California.
"The Bay Area is shaping the economic relationship between California and China and these economic ties will grow even stronger with time," said Ting. "California recently opened a trade office in Shanghai and created new incentives to attract investment here at home. We must ensure that these tools are effective and consider what other state policies can create jobs by getting Chinese companies to open in California."
The hearing featured testimony from Dr. Sean Randolph, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute; Dr. N. Bruce Pickering, Vice President of Global Programs at the Asia Society; and Melinda Yee Franklin, Managing Director of Corporate and Government Affairs for the Western Region at United Airlines. The discussion was aided by a new report from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, Ties that Bind: The San Francisco Bay Area's Economic Links to Greater China. Last year, Governor Brown enlisted the Bay Area Council to operate California's Trade and Investment office in Shanghai and to organize trade and investment missions to China.
"The Bay Area is more closely connected to China than any other place in the U.S., and the relationship – which dates back 160 years – is continuing to deepen," said Randolph who presented the report's findings to the Select Committee. "The Bay Area is increasingly becoming a destination for Chinese investment, students, and companies at the same time China's internal transformation is creating huge demand for the many technologies, products, and services they need to sustain and manage their growth."
The report provides an in-depth analysis of how the Bay Area's innovation and technology industries are supporting China's transformation as well as how the region is a landing pad for China. Among its key findings:
- Bay Area investment in China reached $2.7 billion in 2011, 38 percent of the region's foreign investment that year;
- Chinese investment in the Bay Area reached $495 million in 2011, 7 percent of all foreign investment into the region;
- China ranks second among the top sites for Bay Area businesses abroad, with 795 Bay Area affiliates located there;
- Chinese companies are creating jobs in the Bay Area, with over 80 large mainland firms operating in the Bay Area;
- Chinese direct investment in the Bay Area is increasing and focused notably on clean tech, biotech, and real estate; and
- The number of students from China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong has grown to 7,000.
Today's summit was the second of three Ting is organizing across the state where business leaders and dignitaries gather to discuss California's economic ties with China. The first of these gatherings took place in San Francisco last November. The third summit is planned for the Los Angeles area. Prior to his election to the State Assembly, Ting co-founded ChinaSF, a public-private partnership dedicated to creating economic development opportunities for Chinese companies looking to establish themselves in the Bay Area.
Video footage of today's hearing in Sacramento will be available online through the California Channel. Photos available on request.
Anthony Matthews (Ting), tel. (916) 319-2019, cell (202) 297-3830, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rufus Jeffris (Bay Area Council), tel. (415) 946-8725, cell (415) 606-2337, email@example.com