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Annual China Trip Strengthens Relationships With Auto, Manufacturing Execs; Key to Job-Creating Investment in Region

forward detroitThe Detroit Regional Chamber recently completed a weeklong business development mission to China, meeting with industry executives to make the case for Chinese companies to expand in Michigan while promoting the state’s automotive, manufacturing and talent assets. The trip coincided with the Chamber’s annual business attraction outreach at the Beijing Motor Show (Auto China).

“We’ve attended the show for several years in a row now. It gives us a better sense of global trends, vehicle platforms, and vehicle technology, to understand what’s happening in the manufacturing landscape,” said Justin Robinson, the Chamber’s vice president of Business Attraction.

SUV sales have become a hot commodity in China over the past several years, Robinson said. A total of 6.22 million SUVs were sold in 2015 in China, a 52.39 percent surge from 2014, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association. Additionally, sales of Chinese self-developed SUVs increased 58 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2016.

Joined by MICHauto, Oakland County and private partners Dickinson Wright and Miller Canfield, the Chamber attended several events around the auto show, including an automotive forum hosted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) featuring over 400 auto industry professionals. The event included speeches from leaders of China’s largest automotive manufacturers, as well as numerous panels around emerging vehicle technology and the role of the Chinese automotive industry in the North American market.

Panelists included Rob Luce, director of MICHauto and automotive retention and growth for the Chamber, who spoke on key issues for electric vehicle and connected vehicle development. A second panel featured representatives from Dickinson Wright and Miller Canfield, who spoke on Chinese auto firm activity in the United States. Robinson provided an official welcome kickoff for the forum, offering insight on the state of the automotive industry in Southeast Michigan.

While in Beijing, the Chamber and MICHauto also promoted the region’s assets at an event featuring 150 auto suppliers and OEMs hosted by the Chinese Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) in partnership with the North American Chinese Society of Automotive Engineers. Additionally, the Michigan delegation attended the CAAM China Auto Forum, which brings together over 1,000 C-suite industry leaders and government officials to discuss current and future issues. Later in the week, the Michigan delegation traveled to Shanghai to meet one-on-one with companies in the real estate development, information technology, automotive and hospitality markets.

“We met with a lot of these companies previously and they either recently expanded into the market or have the potential to do more in the Detroit and U.S. market,” Robinson explained.

Citing examples of Chinese companies that located or expanded in the Detroit region in the past three years, Robinson said the Chamber’s business attraction outreach efforts in China and its partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. has directly contributed to $42 million and the creation of 310 jobs for the region. This includes YFS Automotive Systems’ announced Detroit expansion and Kingfa’s first U.S. production site in Canton. Additionally, Yanfeng USA’s $56.2 million expansion in Harrison Township was a combined effort between the MEDC and the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development.

For more information on Forward Detroit, contact Marnita Harris at 313.596.0310. To view a full list of investors and past Investor Exclusive content, visit our Investor Resources page. For more information on Business Attraction, contact Justin Robinson at 313.596.0352.