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Ambitious leader opens Pacific door for China and US

By Li Mu (People's Daily Online)

13:51, December 06, 2012

Jim Wunderman (Left 2), CEO of the Bay Area Council, receives interview with People's Daily Online. (People's Daily Online/Li Mu)

San Francisco Nov. 29 "The Bay area Council is going to open its 2nd overseas office in Hangzhou, which is a big step closer to our goal to open up a trading door across the Pacific Region." Jim Wunderman hardly seems like someone you would peg to be an ambitious leader of a new Pacific era.

Being a typical American with ruddy cheeks, Mr. Wunderman told reporters of People's Daily Online about his big plan, or the blueprint for the Bay Area Council, to be exact.

"The Bay Area Council is fully committed to building economic ties and engaging in successful collaborations with China. We take this work very seriously." Sitting in the meeting room of his office in San Francisco's financial district, Jim Wunderman, 55, expects his upcoming 8th trip to China.

Since becoming CEO in April 2004, Mr. Wunderman has led the Bay Area Council, a 67-year-old business-backed public policy organization in the Silicon Valley-San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area to tighten its focus, significantly increase its advocacy work, and expand its efforts globally, starting with China. Members of it includes Bank of America、AT&T、Genentech、HP、Google and other 250 companies.

"The new office in Hangzhou is to further help U.S. companies get actively involved in the development of China's innovative economy," Jim Wunderman said. He believed Hangzhou is an idea hub to connect the Yangtze River Delta, one of China's most dynamic economic zones, with California's Bay Area.

Hangzhou is the capital city of east China's Zhejiang province. Its total import-export volume in 2012's first 10 month was 51.4 billion U.S. Dollars. Zhejiang topped the 4th place with a 500 billion GDP in 2011 out of China's 23 provinces and 4 central-governed municipalities.

"We recommend the best foothold for U.S. companies in the Yangtze River Delta as well as providing investment guidance for Chinese enterprises coming to the Bay Area," Mr. Wunderman said.

The Bay Area Council has opened the 1st overseas office in Shanghai Yangpu District in 2010 to begin the work of bilateral trade and investment promotion. "More than just an office, our partnership with local Chinese officials allows the Bay Area to enhance its role as a leader in the global economy and assert our region's position as the key economic link to the Pacific Rim," Jim Wunderman said.

The Bay Area Council has been studying China's economic development and promoting business expansion to China for U.S. companies as early as since 2006. It also played a key role in the establishment of China offices of the State of California and the Bay Area municipal governments. ChinaSF is the most-talked case.

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