Top 5 “To Dos” for Governor Snyder’s China Trade Mission

Next week, Governor Rick Snyder will be traveling to China on his 3rd trade mission in as many years. Here are 5 things I hope he does during his trip (heck, I’d take 2!):

1. Bring home the bacon

Obviously, we need to see some real business deals signed that bring home jobs. There are at least 30 delegates going on the trip with Snyder, and I hope that at least one of them, such as Lori Huisman of Classic Design Concepts, can benefit from associating with the governor on this junket with a real business deal.

2. Declare that “密西根”is the standard Chinese name for the state of Michigan

It sounds crazy, but the state of Michigan does not even have a standard name in Chinese. There are at least 3 popular versions throughout China, but the state itself has never made it a point to standardize. The name 密西根 (pronounced mi-shee-gen) is the best choice and is already being implemented at the Michigan China Center in Shanghai, Michigan’s official office in China.

This will greatly help George Zimmerman, Director of Travel Michigan, and those of us Michiganders in China helping to promote our state!

3. Announce that he will personally sign visa invitation letters for serious real estate buyers, and many other news outlets, commented about how Chinese have been going crazy over cheap buys in the Detroit Real Estate market. According to Fox News, though, many were unable to make purchases because they were denied visas to the United States. Ouch!

If the Governor signs an invitation letter, that goes a long way for a foreigner to get an approved visa. We could greatly avoid the missed opportunities created when serious buyers are denied entry. (Note: I understand that we don’t want the corrupt or the criminal entering either…proper due diligence on invitees would have to be a prerequisite.)

4. Pen a Sister City Memorandum of Understanding between Detroit and Chongqing

With almost 30 million people, Chongqing is China’s largest city. Lucky for Detroit, it is already sister cities with this giant! Snyder should re-ignite the sister city relationship by signing an MOU with their new party chief  to work towards sustained collaboration. (Ironically, the Party Chief of Chongqing was sacked last year in a corruption scandal and recently went on trial…I guess you could say there are some similarities between the two cities?).

5. Commission a “Detroit Dialogues” Series in Beijing

There are thousands of Michiganders and Chinese with Michigan ties that are ready to serve on the front lines to change the narrative about Michigan in China. We have access to corporate CEOs and government officials that we’ve worked with during our time here – – commission us to start a “Detroit Dialogues” series to get people talking about the realities of Detroit and Michigan. Consider this my application to volunteer!

Good luck to Governor Snyder and this year’s trade mission! 中国欢迎您!Welcome to China!


5 thoughts on “Top 5 “To Dos” for Governor Snyder’s China Trade Mission”

  1. Dan,
    Awesome article on the Governors upcoming trip to China. Hope he and his entourage take notice.
    Blessings on your day.

  2. Hello Dan,

    Sound Advice…

    The Detroit Chinese Business Association is having our 18th annual International Golf Outing on September 23rd in which the MEDC is sponsoring a VIP Breakfast for International Guests and DCBA and Golf Outing Sponsors, Etc.

    So let Chinese interested in doing business to make plans to follow up right away …

    Also on September 24th Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate, CEO of Riverfront Conservancy and others will be showcasing innovative investment development opportunities in Detroit unique to the world.

    Keep up the Pure Work!

  3. I’m equally enthusiastic about Snyder’s visit to China and agree with you on all but one point–the third one.

    I am not convinced making it easier for Chinese (or foreigners in general) to buy property in Detroit will improve anything. I see any investment by Chinese in Detroit property as being parallel to what’s currently happening in China. It will artificially drive up prices without adding any real value. Furthermore, at the historically low property prices we’re now seeing in much of Detroit, it will add little to the city’s coffers.

    If your aim is to make Detroit a more business friendly city, which might include making foreign investment and ownership easier, I don’t think this alone is enough. If development projects or similarly substantive investment went along with the property purchase then I’d agree that there’s value in such action by Snyder. Otherwise, we’re merely making it easier for foreigners to speculate on future returns; if such returns materialize, it will be due to the efforts of others, not those who hold property merely as a retirement plan or to outpace inflation.

    All this said, I would argue that, with limited time and resources, Snyder and his team are better off focusing on other ways to leverage ties to China in order to contribute to economic growth and revitalization in Michigan.

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