ATLANTA - Friendliness toward Chinese investment is an important reason why Atlanta was chosen as the second stop for the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's trade delegation to the United States, said Yu Jianhua, assistant minister for commerce in China.
While Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping met with US President Obama on Tuesday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's trade delegation headed to Atlanta to talk about business and investment opportunities.
More than 100 well-established Chinese enterprises in agriculture, construction and real estate, energy, mining, finance, manufacturing, textile, IT and electronics and others visited Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday.
While Xi's visit is a milestone in China's engagement with the US, the delegation's trip might be a strong start to a business relationship between China and Georgia, Yu said at the US-China Investment and Trade Symposium held on Tuesday.
Georgia is ranked in the top five among the 50 states in terms of attracting Chinese businesses. According to the state's economic development agency, there are two dozen Chinese companies in the southern state and employing about 250 people.
Yu said he thinks Georgia is well-positioned to attract more Chinese investments.
"Between 2000 and 2010, Georgia's exports to China increased by six times. I must congratulate the governor. This is 10 times the growth rate of its exports globally for the same period. From January to February last year, Georgia's exports to China increased by 40 percent," Yu said.
Casey Cagle, lieutenant governor of Georgia, said during his speech that because China is the state's second-largest trade partner, the Georgia Department of Economic Development will open a second office in China located in Qingdao, in Shandong province, to "extend the relationship not only between Georgia and China, but between the business communities in the two regions." The first Georgia office opened in Beijing almost four years ago.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who is going to lead a trade mission to China in late March, assured the Chinese entrepreneurs that their businesses "will be respected and well cared for" if they choose to make an investment in his city.
Sany Heavy Industries, a manufacturer of construction machinery and equipment, recently opened its North American headquarters in Peachtree City.
The project cost $60 million and comprises some 33,000 square meters, including office space and an assembly plant.
During a presentation at the seminar, David Zhang, CFO of Sany America Inc, said the US is very important for the company's brand. Georgia was chosen as its US headquarters because of its relatively low cost. Zhang said some of the products designed specifically for the North American market will be assembled in Georgia.
While Sany already has 130 employees in its US office, it recently announced a plan to hire 300 engineers and technicians over the next five years for a new research and development hub.