Mayor Sylvester Turner will lead a trade and goodwill mission Dec. 2-9 to China, Houston’s second largest international trade partner and a nation with key business and cultural ties to the city.
“This trip is an essential mission to enrich all of Houston’s ties with China and explore new business opportunities that will help nurture our local economy with jobs and investments,” the mayor said. “As a city of innovation and diversity, we value the Chinese businesses that have already established operations in our city and welcome others to explore the myriad opportunities for investment, business development and tourism available in Houston. Working with the Greater Houston Partnership, our delegation will expand on Houston’s global city status that makes Houston strong and unique.”
The Houston delegation of business leaders and government officials will conduct “Houston Business and Investment Seminars,” and visit with their counterparts, in the dynamic cities of Shenzen, Shanghai and Beijing. Shenzhen is a Houston sister city and a major financial center with ties to nearby Hong Kong; Shanghai is the most populous Chinese city and a major port location; Beijing is the nation’s center for government and development. Their combined municipal population is 58 million.
“Chinese businesses are discovering that Houston is uniquely positioned as a hub for doing business all across the Americas,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “These global leaders realize that Houston is not only an ideal location to invest, it is a strategic ecosystem for the exchange of technology, expertise and best practices with other global partners. That’s why we are seeing companies from China – and from all over the world – establishing their regional headquarters in Houston.”
Thirty-nine Houston businesses operate 113 subsidiaries in China, most of them in the energy, law and shipping sectors. In turn, 16 Chinese firms operate 18 subsidiaries in the Houston area. These businesses contribute to the annual $15 billion in import-export trade that China conducts with Houston.
Houston includes 65,700 residents born in China and about 100,000 residents of Chinese descent, contributing to the Houston’s status as the most diverse in the United States and a city where a fourth of the population was born in other nations. Air China operates five non-stop flights per week from Houston to Beijing.
The Houston delegation will include Council Members Greg Travis and Larry Green and state Rep. Gene Wu; more than 80 business leaders organized by the Partnership, and staff from the mayor’s office and the Partnership.
The delegation will exchange best practices and intellectual capital with Chinese counterparts in energy, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, logistics, finance, real estate, tourism, education and law.
Commodities that Houston exports to China include fuels, oil and other refined products, grain, plastics, industrial equipment, computers and electrical machinery. Chinese commodities exported to Houston include industrial equipment, computers, electrical machinery, furniture, lamps, iron, steel, toys, games, sports equipment and plastic products.