by John G. Jung
We are sitting in the cavernous official meeting room of the Government of Shenzhen, China. The first time I visited Shenzhen - decades ago- I arrived by boat to see a fishing village. Today its a city of nearly 15 million people. The Deputy Mayor of Shenzhen, Biao Chen, is repeating the vital statistics of the 11 cities across Canada and welcomes the cities from CCCA (Consider Canada City Alliance) to Shenzhen, the city immediately next to Hong Kong but on the Chinese mainland.
Waterloo Region is extremely fortunate to be a charter member of CCCA and to have been invited to participate in this large delegation to China taking place from April 14-19.
Traveling with Dana Fox of ClevrU and Nikita Zhu of our WLU-CTT Inc office in Chongqing, we have been very well received as Waterloo Region's representatives. So well received was our message that Dana and I were the very last participants left at meetings arranged by DFAIT in Hong Kong's Convention Center. Companies and Chinese investor interest was so high, they were lining up to meet us. In Shenzhen we are meeting again with firms from Shenzhen specifically interested in the Waterloo Region. So popular is Waterloo Region that we were the only CCCA city to have to split up into two teams to meet all the companies interested in our community and industry sectors.
Beijing is our next stop and attending more meetings. But today we signed an MOU agreement between CCCA and CCPIT (China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Shenzhen Council). We are focused on Shenzhen-based firms interested in data centres, IT, digital media, gaming technologies, energy, smart grid, food processing, as well as education and research, especially water sciences and food security. Our meetings with the Shenzhen firms are only an opener for information exchange and the beginnings of developing longer term relationships between their city's firms seeking to go global and their new MOU partners of the CCCA. We all agree that the time to meet is too short and everything now is in the follow-up.
(Emphasis on "everything now is in the follow-up!")
John G. Jung is CEO of the economic development agency, Canada's Technology Triangle based in Waterloo, Ontario. This was originally posted on the CTT Web site.