Michigan’s advanced China engagement strategy pays off

Brian Conners

Friday, May 11, 2018


China is now Michigan’s third largest export market.

Michigan/China week celebrates economic benefits of collaboration

State of Michigan’s work of engaging with China has paid dividends, and looking forward, those efforts have never been more important. 

Today, the two countries’ highly intertwined supply chains contribute enormously to one another’s economies.  At the same time, rising tensions between the U.S. and China on trade and investment threaten that cooperation.  One way to thaw the ice is to get people together, get to know each other better, and talk about practical approaches for cooperation going forward, and that’s what Michigan China Week (May 6-9) is all about.

Michigan’s work with China is quite advanced compared with other states. Since 2011, the state of Michigan, together with partners across Michigan, has led seven missions to China to promote Michigan exports and tourism and to attract business investments.

Michigan has more than 300 Chinese firms, more than four billion dollars in investment, supporting more than 6,000 jobs. China is now Michigan’s third largest export market.

The Michigan-China Innovation Center (MCIC) is the state’s arm for marketing, business attraction and government relations with China. The MCIC team works hand-in-hand with the state’s leaders and facilitates one of the most highly informed, highly experienced and well-respected engagement operations in the nation.

Michigan has the third largest number of Chinese investments among all states, according to Rhodium Group, an economic research firm focusing on U.S./China investment.

Michigan has had many great successes from previous trade missions. Since 2011, we’ve welcomed CITIC Dicastal to Greenville, Kingfa to Canton, Great Wall Motors to Farmington Hills, Bordrin to Oak Park, CW Bearing to Northville, and many more.

Michigan’s competitiveness is due in part to its simple, fair and efficient six percent corporate tax. The state also provides millions of dollars in support each year for business expansions and growth through its resources, incentives, and loans.

Michigan has one of the largest high-tech and skilled trade workforces in the country and is home to 119 universities and colleges and 308 vocational and technical schools.

Michigan/China week
Brian Connors

Michigan/China Week showcases the state, advances the dialogue

May 6-9 was celebrated as Michigan-China Week, with more than 200 people traveling to the Great Lakes State from China to see the state firsthand.  This was the largest and most diverse group from China ever welcomed to the state.

Michigan-China Week’s goals were to celebrate Michigan’s relationships with our partners in China, welcome our Chinese partners to Michigan and lay a foundation for continuing collaboration between Michigan and important regions of China.

Delegations from Michigan’s sister provinces, Guangdong and Sichuan, were joined by Hebei, Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang Provinces. These regions’ combined population represent a market of 375 million people.

MCIC took the Chinese business leaders and government officials to Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, where the group met more than 1,000 Michiganders over the four days.

Collaborations like Michigan-China Week help us to keep these dialogues moving in a practical direction. These types of exchanges help us understand one another’s needs and challenges as we work to improve our relationships and navigate the changing landscapes at our respective federal levels.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Founded in 2016 with a grant from State of Michigan, The Michigan-China Innovation Center (MCIC) is a non-profit organization building business ties and enhancing cooperation between Michigan and China. Its mission is to create jobs, attract investment, and increase competitiveness in Michigan by developing win-win ventures with China.

Brian Connors is executive director, Michigan-China Innovation Center.

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