Print Friendly and PDF

Detroit Regional Chamber’s China Mission Bolsters Automotive Industry, Infrastructure in Michigan

Capitalizing on the growing interest of Chinese manufacturing companies to invest in Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber participated in a weeklong outreach mission to China in April to promote economic development opportunities in the region.

The Chamber’s Business Attraction team, along with partners Clayton & McKervey P.C., Dickinson Wright PLLC and Oakland County, met with top executives from numerous Chinese automotive companies in one-on-one meetings in Ningbo and Shanghai, while also attending the Shanghai Auto Show. Justin Robinson, director of business attraction for the Chamber, also highlighted opportunities for international business expansion in Michigan and Detroit at the Global Forum on Auto Tech Corporation and Industry Infusion.

Robinson said many of the companies he spoke with already have some sales in the U.S. market but are looking to establish physical operations. Questions centered on the strength of the automotive industry in Detroit and the region, how to find available real estate and talent, and how to apply for tax incentives, as well as where opportunities exist in North America for new suppliers, he said.

“Lightweight and advanced materials were of big interest among those we spoke with,” Robinson said. “Some of these companies have solutions to the lightweighting challenge in order to reduce vehicle weight for the mass market, and they want to bring those ideas to the United States.”

Since the trip, Robinson said three companies have already visited the region, with a delegation of Chinese industry executives also expected to tour the area in the coming months.

“Timing the trip with the auto show allows us to develop a lot of new contacts in a short amount of time and understand what’s happening in the Chinese market from a product and brand perspective. We want to identify which companies are making progress and may have an opportunity to move into the U.S. market in the future,” Robinson said.