On Oct. 9th, John Ling, managing director for Chinese investment at the Georgia Department of Economic Development and president of the Council of American States in China, gave a talk at Presbyterian College. This is a joint effort of Confucius Institute at Presbyterian College, the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce and the BB&T Program for the study of Capitalism, to provide an opportunity for the PC and community to know more about China and promote economic cooperations.
John Ling first talked about his experiences of introducing Chinese companies to invest and set up factories in America, South Carolina, and Georgia, to be more specific. He worked for the South Carolina Department of Commerce for 14 years. He successfully persuaded Haier Group, a Chinese giant home appliance manufacturer to build a $40-million refrigerator plant 1999, which has expanded several times. He had a hand in nearly 30 Chinese manufacturing investments, including Techtronic Industries (power tools, 1,200 jobs); the Keer Group (textiles, 500 jobs); and Uniscite Inc. (plastic films, $70 million, 100 jobs); Jiangnan Mold Plastic Technology Corp (150 jobs). He was said to have attracted a half-billion
dollars worth of Chinese factories — not including the $500 million Volvo auto plant (4,000 jobs）. Recently, only months after taking his office in the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Sentury Tire North America, a Chinese tire factory, is poised to invest more than $500 million in LaGrange, Georgia.
He then said there are three reasons for Chinese companies to invest in the Southeastern United States. First, cost. The U. S. offers land, electricity, gas, and logistics at comparatively lower prices. Second, the government and communities support and welcome investment from China. Third, many of the Chinese companies have built their expertise or knowledge within different industries, and they feel much more c
omfortable, or competent, to enter into a market like the U.S. They also have the money to do that.
He also talked about the challenges these companies faced and said they should rely on local talents and know the people and country well. Successful companies do not create profits only but also bring benefits to the community.
The speech ended with questions from students and professors, who were inspired by Mr. Ling’s insightful answers.