China mission connects B.C.’s technology sector

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Photo Courtesy: BC Newsroom

16868174098_f262b0eecc_kJAKARTA, INDONESIA: International Trade Minister Teresa Wat switched things up last week as she visited China’s Silicon Valley, opened doors for numerous B.C. companies looking to grow their business in China,  and met with major companies such as e-commerce giant Alibaba, and tech firm Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

Wat was in China on her spring trade mission to China and Indonesia, where she is now. She was visiting China’s so-called ‘second tier’ cities Hangzhou, Nanjing and Shenzhen to promote B.C.’s investment opportunities and export potential to Chinese political and business representatives. The primary focus in China was on B.C.’s priority sectors such as digital media, clean technology and life sciences.

Wat witnessed the signing of two agreements to help further cement co-operation and economic collaboration between British Columbia and two Chinese Provinces:

  • In Hangzhou, Zhejiang, Wat signed a Letter of Intent with the Zhejiang Department of Commerce.
  • In Nanjing, Jiangsu, Wat signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Jiangsu Economic Informatization Technology Commission.

Other highlights of the minister’s activities include:

  • Meetings in Nanjing and Shenzhen with leading technology and life sciences companies to open doors for B.C. companies doing business in this sector, such as Huawei, Joinstar, Poly Culture, OCT and BGI.
  • Touring Nanjing Software Valley, one of the largest telecommunications and software research and development centres in China.
  • Attending a roundtable with Nanjing companies interested in investment opportunities in British Columbia.
  • Meeting in Hong Kong with the China Fiber Optic Group to encourage them to expand their B.C. operations and consider establishing a corporate office.
  • Attending ICT seminars for B.C. and Chinese business representatives in both Nanjing and Shenzhen.
  • Participating in a presentation on HQ Vancouver to promote the benefits of locating international head offices in Vancouver.

Wat is currently in Indonesia meeting with key business leaders and government officials to identify and take advantage of new trade and investment opportunities. Indonesia is part of the Association of South East Asian Nations, known as ASEAN. Together, ASEAN markets rank fifth among destinations for B.C. goods exports.

This is Wat’s third trip to Asia after travelling to China, Japan and Korea in November 2014 and to China as part of Premier Christy Clark’s fourth BC Jobs Plan-related trade mission in November 2013. Wat left Canada on March 27 and returns April 9, 2015.

Minister of International Trade Teresa Wat said, “In today’s competitive global market, it’s these face-to-face connections that give us a unique advantage and build on our efforts to expand B.C.’s trade network in China. We are confident that by nurturing our relationships in China, we can find new opportunities for B.C. businesses to expand. These economic relationships are critical for B.C., its economy and the jobs they help create for British Columbians.”

James Hursthouse, Roadhouse Interactive, B.C. said, “It’s been a real pleasure to be on the trade mission, and, as always, the trade and investment office has been really awesome in helping us put together some great meetings. We certainly gained a lot of new contacts from this trip and we look forward to doing a lot more business in China thanks to the help and assistance of the terrific team here.”

  • Since 2011, B.C. has doubled its international presence with over 64 people working in Trade and Investment Offices all over the globe.
  • British Columbia has four Trade and Investment Offices in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong.
  • In 2014, China remained B.C’s second-largest market with 17.7% of B.C. exports going there, up from 3.9% in 2005.