A Trip with Mayor Gregor Robertson: Vancouver Business Mission to China 2017

Caifu Magazine | by CAIFU Magazine

From September 5 to September 9, 2017, a business delegation from Vancouver journeyed to Beijing and Shanghai in China, meeting with government officials from both cities and visiting well-known Chinese companies. This resulted in the signing of several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the Chinese government and enterprises.

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Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson led the delegation. He was first elected Vancouver mayor in November 2008 and re-elected for a third time in November 2014. Mayor Robertson is actively promoting urban management throughout Canada, focusing on housing and transportation issues, and advocating a transition to a low-carbon economy based on high growth areas such as digital media, clean technologies and renewable energy. Under the leadership of Mayor Robertson, Vancouver has become Canada's fastest-growing economy, and the greenest and most resilient city. His tenure proves that green ideas are conducive to economic development.

Joan Elangovan is the deputy head of the delegation of the Vancouver Economic Commission, or VEC. Elangovan is the founding chief of the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Center of the VEC, devoted to developing business and cultural exchanges between Canada and the Asia-Pacific region. She leads the strategic planning and resource integration to facilitate the incorporation between technology and capital markets. Elangovan has been with the British Columbia provincial government in Canada for many years as senior strategy officer, assistant deputy director, CFO and CIO.

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Also among the delegation were a dozen other Vancouver entrepreneurs. They are Frank Shen, CEO and founder of the well-known Vancouver virtual reality company Archiact Interactive; Jordan Patterson, CEO of Rare Earth Media; Jonathan Miodowski, director of commercialization and relationship at Rick Hansen Institute; Su Changhong, president of Shanghai Kedu Group and chairman of software company FanDine Technology; Chen Yinghua, senior vice president of technology innovator Aupera Technologies; Alice You, CEO of 1898 Business Club; Chad Peterson, owner of Tiny Earth Trading and CEO of TJ's the Kiddies Store; David Ren, chairman of the Fortune World Group; Janet Gulbransen, CEO of Planet Earth Healthcare, Inc.; and Chen Yandi, marketing director of Hengda VIG.

The primary goals of the mission was to promote Vancouver’s innovative, creative and sustainable business sectors, and to attract investment to support Vancouver’s knowledge economy, as well as to assist with the expansion of Vancouver-based companies into the Chinese market, including strengthening partnership ties between VEC and China.

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The Chinese business delegation had an intense and efficient agenda. The delegation visited the famous Chinese satellite navigation company BDStar Navigation in Beijing, which acquired mobile location technology and services company Rx Networks in Vancouver for $31 million CAD in July 2017, and have continued to invest $10 million CAD to support its development. In addition, the delegation also held discussions with the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. After that, the delegation organized the Fifth China-Canada Economic Forum with the Beijing Chaoyang District Business Council, inviting John McCallum, the current Canadian ambassador to China and more than 100 politicians and business leaders.

The delegation also visited Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com, guided by Vice President Jeroma Ma, who exchanged opinions with the delegation. Three companies from the delegation planned to enter JD.com, so they held separate meetings with JD.com.

After visiting JD.com, Mayor Robertson led the delegation from Beijing to Shanghai by taking high-speed rail (HSR). In Shanghai, Mayor Robertson, along with the delegation, had a meeting with Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong, followed by a visit to Shanghai Kedu Medical Co., Ltd.

The delegation also attended the China-Canada Business Forum held by VEC and Shanghai Dentons’ law office, participating in the activities of “Vancouver Mayor in Noah Holdings.” Wealth management and investment firm Noah Holdings announced a new branch office in Vancouver, slated to open in late 2017. During the above activities, delegation members introduced the general situation of their respective enterprises and conducted interaction with Shanghai-based enterprises.

The visit yielded fruitful results with a number of MOUs with relevant government agencies and enterprises in China, including MOUs between the City of Vancouver and the Shanghai municipal government, and MOUs between VEC and BD Navigation, JD.com, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Personal Banking), China Chamber of International Commerce, China-Canada Joint Centre for BioEnergy Research and Innovation, and the Shanghai Kedu Medical Group. At the same time, Aupera Technologies signed MOUs with SpeedyCloud Technology in Beijing and with Chinese video streaming website PPTV in Shanghai.

The delegates said they were very satisfied with the trip, and all added they had greatly benefited from visiting China. “Thank you everyone who went to China with us,” said Peterson, CEO of TJ's the Kiddies Store. “It has been great to experience this magnificent city with everyone and we were all very happy.”

Rob Hickling, director of IT at Rick Hansen Institute, said: “We’ve had a fruitful trip and harvested a lot. I will join in more such activities.”

Alice You, CEO of 1898 Business Club, said: "The accomplishment of this business delegation was great. Apart from visiting many famous Chinese enterprises, we also had communications with the Chinese government, and the exchanges within our delegation in particular also created a lot of room for cooperation. Traveling by train, we had a lot of opportunities to exchange ideas and communicate with each other. Through this trip, we strengthened our confidence in Vancouver. At present, Vancouver has many bright spots in the green economy, as well as in areas of innovation and creativity. The Chinese delegation this time has built a bridge for economic exchange between China and Canada, and we are all part of the bridge."

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Rare Earth Media Group CEO Patterson said about visiting China: "This is my second visit to China with the Vancouver Economic Commission delegation. During this trip, I had very good communication with China's potential partners and the members of the delegation. My trip to China this time has yielded fruitful results. First, I found potential investors to shoot a documentary about Dr. [Norman] Bethune. Besides, I met with many Chinese production companies interested in cooperating with Canada. We have long-term cooperative relations with Chinese film and TV companies, such as CCTV in documentary. Being attracted by Vancouver’s tax policy, many other Chinese companies are planning to come to Vancouver for development."

Senior Vice President Chen of Aupera Technologies discussed her feelings about this trip to China. "My overall feeling of this event is very good,” she said. “China is our largest market, and it has been extremely helpful to us for having Canadian government organizations and institutions participated in the communication with the [Chinese] local government and enterprises. The Canadian government's involvement has contributed to increase the trust of our partners in China."

"It's rare for the mayor to be with us throughout the trip, whether it's on the bus or on the HSR, we were always talking and discussing," Chen added. “The mayor was very nice, and handsome."

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Finally, Chen thanked VEC for organizing the trip. "VEC has arranged a perfect trip, which was jam-packed with activities,” she said. “Apart from the large-scale forum, we have had a lot of contacts with many government agencies and companies. We achieved a great deal. Because I also had organized similar activities once, I knew it took a lot of work yet they only had couple of people to do it. It’s really not an easy job to arrange such an event, and I thank them very much for their hard work. "