The U.S. Southern Delegation of Mayors has been brought together again by the very aggressive SoZo Group, who is working to bring Chinese corporations and local municipalities together.
I’m writing this now on a computer that has allowed me to break through the firewall that didn’t let me get to WordPress….
We have just had a team meeting with my “old friends” from Alabama, and we’ve recapped all the events that are happening over the past couple of days. We will be getting incredible exposure at this conference tomorrow and Thursday, and in fact, we will be the luncheon panel and will be discussing exactly what our particular region will be looking for with regard to corporate investment. My focus will be recruiting high technology and infrastructure-related corporations.
I’m writing in the midst of much talking now and really cannot find the thoughts and words to convey this experience — my family dropped me off at the JFK airport after leaving a family wedding the night before. It was very sad for me to say goodbye to my daughter, with whom I will miss four days of her ten day visit at home. So arriving in Beijing was a bit overwhelming emotionally, but when I finally made it through customs and was greeted by the SoZo representatives, it was great to be here again.
Our group made it to the hotel in time to have a quick splash of water on the face and then off to a dumpling restaurant that was absolutely incredible — Din Tai Fung. I’m not writing with my usual flow, so I’ll simply say that it was amazing to watch the dumplings being made and to see that every single dumpling has exact same number of folds on the top and were all the exact same time.
This morning, everyone had arrived and we got together to recap the days ahead. Today we will be working on our presentations for the seminar tomorrow — the mayors will be the luncheon panel in front of 62 of China’s largest public-listed companies. Although the countries of Italy, Brazil, Poland, Hungary and Israel will also be here to talk to the companies, our delegation has the most upfront time in front of the Chinese. I have with me promotional material on Huntersville and information from the Charlotte Chamber that has been translated into Chinese on the Charlotte region.
I think it is especially interesting to note that the people around the table this morning in our team meeting were interested in what North Carolina was doing that affects business recruitment — the arguments about the Charlotte airport, the issues with teacher pay and locally, the comments by my opponent about my visits to China. What citizens/politicians often don’t realize is that these issues and the comments made during the debate of the issues, reach well beyond our borders. If we truly want to recruit large foreign corporations and create more jobs for our citizens, we would be more cognizant of what we say and how we are portrayed. No different, it seems, than being interviewed for a job, or posting on FB — only our politicians are representing the entire state.
I’ll write more later, but want to especially note that we have the honor of being the first U.S. Delegation of Southern Mayors to ever meet with C.Y. Leung, who is the CEO of Hong Kong — on Friday. He will be asking specifically about North Carolina and hoping for a meeting with Governor McCrory.