A Grand Opening Event
The two-day event began in the evening of May 30 with a reception attended by local leaders such as Robert Hitt, the secretary of the South Carolina Department of Commerce, and Knox White, the mayor of Greenville, South Carolina.
In a speech the mayor said that South Carolina had seen its textile industry decline in the 1990s due to Asian competition. But now the state's economy is booming, thanks in large part to Chinese companies investing in manufacturing facilities in the region.
Zhu Hong, the commerce minister of the Chinese Embassy welcomed the attendees of the forum the next morning. He said he believed that Chinese companies investing in the US face a promising future, but that they must also accept the challenges that go with it.
Challenges faced by Chinese enterprises in the States include raising capital, getting visas, understanding a different legal system, and bridging cultural differences, he said.
Later, Duan Xiangjian of the Chinese Embassy Commerce Department helped attendees make sense of upcoming changes in US taxes. He gave a detailed overview of what Chinese companies in America could expect with President Trump's tax reforms.
Ren Hairong, president of Minghua, gave the last speech of the morning, sharing her experience of building a factory in South Carolina's Upstate region.
Next, during lunch, representatives of Jushi USA, Fortress Systems, and MLILY USA held a panel discussion, addressing topics such as why Jushi invested in the area and how Fortress Systems could sell to government agencies.
After lunch, Richard Morris, VP of Production Integration of BMW, shared a brief history of BMW in South Carolina. He said that in 1992 BMW built a plant in South Carolina partly because the Upstate region already had a skilled workforce available to the company.
Touring Minghua's New Manfacturing Facility
To conclude the event, shuttles took attendees to tour the new Minghua plant under construction in Greer, SC. This plant will be responsible for supplying plastic parts for BMW bumpers.
The Chinese Manufacturing in USA Forum brought together more than 100 key leaders of Chinese manufacturing in America. The contacts they made and the information they gained from the speakers will likely have an impact on the region for years to come.