Dothan, Alabama Mayor Mike Schmitz and Dothan business leaders pull out all the stops as they welcome Chinese investors to the first ever US-China Manufacturing Symposium. Image: Screenshot of WDHN News broadcast.

Alabama and Texas Cities See Results from Recent Trade Missions to China


Dothan, Alabama has become the place to be for Chinese companies. In March of this year it hosted the first US-China Manufacturing Symposium in the United States. The meeting went so well that Dothan was chosen as the headquarters of one of China’s prominent 3D printing companies. This was largely possible due to the efforts of Dothan Mayor Mike Schmitz and the leadership of the Sozo Group, a Hong Kong company whose US headquarters is also located in Dothan. The Sozo Group’s primary goal is to assist Chinese companies that wish to expand their operations into the United States. From October 10th to October 22nd, the company sponsored a trade mission to China, headed by Mayor Schmitz. During the trip Chinese investors who had visited Dothan before talked to their colleagues about why Dothan would be worth their investment. Hearing those testimonies encouraged ten Chinese entrepreneurs to visit Dothan soon to explore opportunities for investment, signaling that the mission had been a success for future business cooperation between Alabama and China.

Texas has also seen positive outcomes from a recent mayoral trade mission to China, Hong Kong, and Japan in early October. Among the 28 participants were Forth Worth Mayor Betsy Price and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. Shortly before departing on this trip, Mayor Rawlings and Mayor Price both voiced their support for American Airlines’ bid to launch a new direct flight from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to Beijing, China next May. If it is approved, it would be first direct flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Beijing and would bring economic benefits to the region similar to those seen resulting from the non-stop flight between Dallas/Fort Worth and Tokyo, Japan.

In addition to transportation, energy took center stage during the trade mission. During a visit to Nanjing, Mayor Price spoke with NGC Renewables President Gou Jianhui about a new transmission plant which will open later this year at the Alliance Texas Industrial Park. President Gou announced that Fort Worth would also serve as NGC Renewables’ North American headquarters. This announcement signaled the potential for 300 local jobs to be created, including 20-30 R&D jobs. Until now, the US headquarters has been in Los Angeles, so the move emphasized the great deal of confidence that Chinese companies have regarding their investments in Texas.

On October 22nd, the 2014 China-US Energy and Natural Resources Investment Conference was held in Dallas, Texas, providing a venue in which US companies could attract Chinese investment in the US energy sector. As Texas’ third largest export market, China bought $739 million worth of petroleum and coal products from Texas last year.