By Nathan Rudyk
In 2011 Economic development executives from 11 large Canadian cities across the country tasked market2world with creating and launching a new bilingual brand to help promote foreign direct investment into Canada. Formally incorporated by the same 11 cities this Spring, the Consider Canada City Alliance Inc. put that brand to the test in China last week.
In an era where most of global GDP and innovation takes place in the world's top cities, the organization's founding President, Michael Darch, drives home the common sense of Canadian cities banding together to create opportunity abroad. I'll turn it over to Mike with an excerpt from one of his China mission blog posts:
Chongqing is China’s largest city with a population in excess of 33 million – a difficult number for many Canadians to grasp. Chongqing’s population rivals the population of our entire country, and underlines why “large” Canadian cities must coordinate and collaborate together –versus attempt to compete with each other – to attract investment from this Chinese powerhouse.
Chongqing is also the gateway to Western China. Among China’s city states, it’s of vital importance to the continuing development of country as its focus on economic development shifts from the coastal cities to the interior.
Our briefing from the Canadian Consul General in Chongqing indicates that first quarter GDP growth exceeded 11% in 2012, and that the region typically has growth numbers of 3%-4% higher than that for China overall. As an emerging area of China, there remains a thrust to attract incoming foreign investment, but Chongqing’s success is also producing the need for companies to increase global business and invest capital outside China.
Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s February visit to China included a visit to Chongqing – a clear signal that Canada recognizes the growing importance of the region and now supports increasing bilateral trade and investment.
Mr. Xiaoguo Song, the Deputy Director General of the Chongqing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission, our partner for the event, made several points:
1) Bilateral trade and investment with Canada is not large
2) There is significant opportunity as the twelfth five year plan is implemented
3) Chongqing has a commitment to invest $30 billion outside China and to do that, the city will have to work jointly with partners like the Consider Canada City Alliance
Our Chongqing seminar and meetings are an excellent start. Over 50 companies and 100 entrepreneurs came to meet with us to discuss projects that we can work on together.
As in Beijing, this turn-out vastly exceeded our expectations. We had only expected 40 to 50 local participants, but we had several last minute registrations, sending us scrambling for seating. Again, the demand for one-on-one meetings exceeded our expectations and we had to plan for a doubling.
To learn more about the Consider Canada City Alliance, click here, and to read a Conference Board of Canada report entitled, The Role of Canada's Major Cities in Attracting Foreign Direct Investment, please click here.