Purdue announces initiative to help Indiana communities build economic ties with China

February 25, 2011

Muncie Mayor Sharon McShurley speaks Friday (Feb. 25) during the Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on China at Purdue. Participating in the panel discussion, from left, were Monticello Mayor Jason A. Thompson, Larry Ingraham of the Sagamore Institute and Logansport Mayor Michael Fincher. During the event, Purdue announced it is launching the Global Business Engagement Initiative, which will leverage the university's various Chinese and business resources to promote Indiana's economic development on a global scale by generating trade and investment opportunities for Indiana firms and communities while simultaneously advancing Purdue's learning and discovery missions. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Cultural expertise, business guidance and consulting services are just some of the resources Purdue can offer Indiana communities interested in expanding economic development with China through a new initiative university officials announced Friday (Feb. 25).

"Purdue is truly the state's one-stop shop for learning about and conducting business with China, especially after today's launch of our Global Business Engagement Initiative," said Michael A. Brzezinski, interim dean of international programs. "The initiative, which will be housed in International Programs, is a joint effort with the Office of Engagement. It leverages Purdue's various assets to promote Indiana's economic development on a global scale by generating trade and investment opportunities for Indiana firms and communities while simultaneously advancing Purdue's learning and discovery missions. China is the first country we are seeking to engage in this initiative."

The announcement was made at Purdue's Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on China where 100 Indiana government and economic leaders - including more than 20 mayors - representing 39 cities were scheduled to attend to learn about Purdue resources to assist with economic development in China.

"Purdue University is home to an array of resources that Indiana officials can tap as they pursue economic opportunities with China, the second largest economy in the world," Brzezinski said. "Purdue is willing to help Indiana communities of all sizes develop a China strategy, assess Chinese demand for Indiana products and investments, market their business opportunities in China, and provide expertise on cultural and business dimensions of Chinese investors. Our ties with premier Chinese universities also connects us to Chinese research parks, potential investors and sources of business partners for Indiana firms, and we can provide access to faculty expertise and research."

Details about these resources were shared at the conference, and Guoqiang Yang, consul general of the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Chicago, presented the keynote speech about trends in Chinese investment in the Midwest. Other panelists and presenters discussed concepts and strategies in attracting business, understanding Chinese visitors, doing business with and in China, and perspectives from Chinese investors on investing in the United States.

Consul General Guoqiang Yang, Chinese Consulate in Chicago, listens to a panel discussion on Friday (Feb. 25) during the Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on China. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)

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Indiana mayors who traveled to China with Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2009 and 2010 also spoke about their experiences. Purdue's Victor Lechtenberg, vice provost for engagement, participated in both trips to China to help explore outreach opportunities and partnerships.

Purdue has 2,130 Chinese students and a large number of Chinese alumni in the United States and China. One of those alums is 2004 graduate Lijun Du, president of Nanshan America Co., who recently announced his company is building and equipping a $100 million, 435,000-square-foot aluminum extrusion manufacturing facility and office in Lafayette. Du also participated in the event.

Other Purdue resources include:

* Purdue Engineering Consulting LLC. Purdue engineering faculty provide technical consulting services for private and public companies.

* International Programs' China Center. Coordinates and supports Purdue's China initiatives and programs.

* Confucius Institute of Purdue. Promotes Chinese language and culture in Indiana through language and cultural programs, business workshops, and translation services.

* Center for International Business Education and Research. Offers Indiana organizations and institutions financial support from its Global Issues Fund for educational programs serving the state's business community.

* Purdue Center for Regional Development. Supports collaborative regional and multi-institutional approaches to problem solving and development.

* Technical Assistance Program. Supports performance improvements in Indiana companies and organizations through various programs and services that utilize faculty, students and staff in nine statewide offices.

The Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on China was organized by the Confucius Institute at Purdue, China Center, Purdue's Office of International Programs, Purdue Center for International Business Education and Research, the Sagamore Institute in Indianapolis, and Purdue's Department of Communication.

The Global Business Engagement Initiative is supported by the deans of Engineering, Management, Technology and Agriculture; the Office of the Vice Provost for Engagement; International Programs; Discovery Park; Purdue Alumni Association; Purdue Research Foundation; Office of the Provost; and the Office of the Chancellor at Indiana University Purdue University-Fort Wayne. 

Writer:  Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu 

Sources:   Michael A. Brzezinski, 765-494-9399, mbrzezinski@purdue.edu

                    Wei Hong, professor and director of Confucius Institute, 765-494-3859, hongwei@purdue.edu

                    Liping Cai, director of the China Center, Liping Cai, 765-494-4739, liping@purdue.edu

                    Greg Cutchin, managing director of Center for International Business Education and Research, 765-494-4467, cutchin@purdue.edu

Related websites:

Purdue helps Indiana mayors, cities learn about working with China 

Aluminum company to build new plant in Lafayette

Note to Journalists: Journalists interested in b-roll from Friday's (Feb. 25) event can contact Jim Schenke, Purdue News Service, at 765-494-6262, jschenke@purdue.edu. Conference participants scheduled to attend, including 22 mayors, were from Indiana cities, including Auburn, Batesville, Bedford, Brownsburg, Carmel, Columbus, Connersville, Crawfordsville, Decatur, Delphi, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Franklin, Greensburg, Greenwood, Hartford City, Huntington, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Lafayette, Lebanon, Logansport, Marion, Monticello, Muncie, Munster, New Haven, Noblesville, Peru, Plainfield, Richmond, Salem, South Bend, Tell City, Terre Haute, Tipton, Washington, West Lafayette and Zionsville.