The Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) recently hosted the Society of China Civil Entrepreneurs, a Beijing-based group of private sector entrepreneurs representing a variety of industries, including biotechnology, energy, finance, and tourism industries. The Chinese delegation visited multiple cities on a nine-day tour facilitated by the Charlotte-based Carolinas Chinese Chamber of Commerce and met with numerous business, education, and elected officials in South Carolina to understand why South Carolina ranks first among all states in job growth by international companies.
According to Charleston Metro’s Foreign Direct Investment Plan(FDI), launched in 2015:
- Charleston has ranked first in job creation by foreign direct investment per capita three out of the last four years.
- Charleston metro area also has over 15,000 jobs created due to investment by foreign firms.
- Charleston has a foreign-born population that has increased 53 percent between 2005 and 2015.
- In the U.S. foreign-owned companies pay an average of $17,000 more than U.S.-based firms.
The Chinese delegation’s visit to Charleston included a market analysis done by CRDA, a tour of the Port of Charleston, a presentation done by a group of local entrepreneurs, a tour of the Battery and shopping excursion on King Street. The delegation also dined at Fish restaurant with local business leaders and economic development officials to discuss future opportunities for investment in the future. The S.C. Department of Commerce provided an interpreter for the American and Chinese participants to enable them to share their impressions and discuss possible investment opportunities in Charleston. The CRDA and S. C. Department of Commerce shared with the Chinese delegation that South Carolina is China’s number one export partner, with $6.4 billion in exports to China last year. This included exports for vehicles, aircraft, machinery, rubber, plastics and other commodities.
Attracting and recruiting foreign direct investment is a key element to maintaining the Charleston region’s global competitiveness and sustainability, and a top goal the Charleston Metro FDI Plan (http://www.crda.org/fdl), according to the CRDA. “Opportunities like this Chinese visit represent another step in our journey,” said Brent Jonas, Director of CRDA Stakeholder Relations. “The members of the Minshang delegation and our Charleston representatives walked away with a greater sense of how we can both benefit by putting aside perceived differences and looking for ways to collaborate. Hopefully this is the start of more opportunities for the Charleston region,” he said.
Source: Charleston Regional Development Alliance, “Charleston Hosts Chinese Delegation Seeking Investment Opportunities,” by Brent Jonas, CRDA Director, Stakeholder Relations
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