March 30, 2012
ATLANTA – March 30, 2012 – Mayor Kasim Reed signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today with Xu Qin, the Mayor of Shenzhen, China. The Mayors discussed ways to promote cooperation and exchange between the two cities, and the importance of friendly relations between China and the United States. Mayor Reed and a delegation from Invest Atlanta and the Metro Atlanta Chamber are traveling through China on a trade mission trip, encouraging foreign direct investment in the metro Atlanta region and identifying opportunities for local Atlanta businesses in China.
“Since taking office it has been a goal of my administration to position Atlanta as an international city and build strategic relationships with other global cities,” said Mayor Reed. “I look forward to strengthening Atlanta’s relationship with the City of Shenzhen, which we have formally acknowledged today.”
Shenzhen, a major city located in China’s Guangdong Province, holds the distinction of being the country’s first Special Economic Zone (SEZ). As an SEZ, the city has more flexible economic and governmental policies, and is oriented towards a free market system. Mayor Reed and Mayor Xu Qin signed the MOU in an effort to promote exchanges between Shenzhen and Atlanta in the fields of business, trade, science, technology, culture, tourism, education, sports, medical services and personnel.
Shenzhen and Atlanta have thriving technology industries, and have agreed to strengthen exchanges relating to technologies in the fields of information, communications, medicine and renewable energy. Both Mayors also support joint project research and development amongst local scientists.
Mayor Reed also met with Mayor Shao Zhanwei of Hangzhou and officials from the Hangzhou Chamber of Commerce. Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) leaders signed an MOU with the Hangzhou Chamber of Commerce, signaling the start of new economic ties and strengthened relations between one of China’s top commercial cities and Atlanta.
“The signing of this MOU provides a vehicle to better enhance the connections between Atlanta companies and one of China's largest markets,” said Jorge Fernandez, MAC vice president of global commerce. “Moreover, it is yet another tool to promote our brand to Hangzhou companies seeking global growth.”
Hangzhou is known for its business-friendly environment, having ranked No. 1 in Forbes Magazine’s “Top Commercial Cities in Mainland China” for four consecutive years. The city is also home to the largest number of China’s top private enterprises and 23 of China’s top 500 companies are headquartered there, the third highest number in China.
China represents Georgia’s second-largest export market. In 2010, Georgia exported $2.4 billion in goods to China, which is a 35.2 percent increase from 2009. More than 20 Chinese companies have operations in Georgia and employ roughly 240 people. China represents a wealth of opportunities for Atlanta companies in sectors, such as architecture, construction, engineering, green building, professional services, energy (including renewable energy), chemicals, medical equipment, transportation, machinery and education.
About Invest Atlanta
Invest Atlanta is the official economic development authority for the City of Atlanta. Its purpose is to strengthen Atlanta’s economy and global competitiveness in order to create increased opportunity and prosperity for the people of Atlanta.
Chaired by the Mayor of Atlanta, and governed by a nine-member board of directors, Invest Atlanta’s programs and initiatives focus on developing and fostering public/private partnerships to create jobs, grow the economy, revitalize neighborhoods, attract investment, spur innovation, and encourage entrepreneurship. To achieve these goals, Invest Atlanta leverages the benefits of bond financing, revolving loan funds, housing financing, tax increment financing (TIF), and tax credits.