Waterford, Michigan -- Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb will leave Saturday for a 10-day trade mission to China in Oakland County's continuing effort to secure foreign investment and jobs for the county.
Gibb will meet with more than 20 life science and automotive companies in four cities including Shanghai (the largest city in the world with a population of 23 million people) and Changchun (pop. 3.3 million people) and three provinces during the trip that will cover more than 20,000 miles overall. Changchun is the auto capital of China.
Gibb will spend a day with Gov. Rick Snyder in meetings with Chinese officials. Representatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and the Detroit Regional Chamber are accompanying the governor.
"It's nice to work with a governor who understands the importance of the Chinese market," Gibb said. "We want to be there to support the governor in any way we can. The Chinese are looking to globalize its marketplace we hope to capitalize on those investments in technology to give our residents high paying jobs."
Oakland County has an impressive case to make for Chinese investment. More than 25 percent of the approximately 44,500 Chinese residents in Michigan live in Oakland County. The county’s 28 public school districts all offer Mandarin under a program proposed in 2007 by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. The American Chinese School of Greater Detroit is located in Birmingham.
"We have long understood the importance of foreign investment in our county," Patterson said. "With more than 800 foreign-owned firms from 37 countries, this investment is vital to our continued diversification and economic stability. We welcome what could be significant investment in our county."
In August, Fuyao Automotive NA, a Chinese automotive company, promised $100,000 investment at its Lake Orion facility, retaining 97 jobs and creating two new jobs. There are 10 other Chinese firms currently operating in Oakland County.
Gibb said he is excited about the prospect of bringing Chinese investment back to Oakland County. Several of Oakland Count's economic development promotional pieces have been translated into Chinese, including two videos of the county.
"We recognize this is a significant opportunity to introduce Oakland County to the Chinese as a place for growth and investment," Gibb said.