Change lives. Change organizations. Change the world.
Stanford Graduate School of Business

State of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with David Wei, President of the China e-commerce giant Alibaba.
Photo credit: Bay Area Council

October 20, 2010 - News

SPRIE represented in Governor Schwarzenegger trade mission to Asia

By Sarah L. Bhatia

Occupying the greater part of the United States Pacific coastline, California has long shared a relationship with Asia. Today, trade with China, Japan, and Korea accounts for nearly one-fourth of the state's overall $120 billion in exported goods, and an estimated one in seven California jobs is related to trade. In recognition of the crucial importance of this trade for the state's economic vitality, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and 100 business and government leaders embarked on September 9, 2010 for a six-day trade mission to Asia.

Forty representatives from the Bay Area, 40 from southern California, and 20 top government officials traveled with the mission, including leaders from California's agriculture, green technology (green tech), finance, and healthcare industries. Although intended to benefit the State of California, the trade mission also sought to leverage complimentary resources that would help nurture China's ever-growing innovation economy and to facilitate the continued exchange of people, technology, and capital. Marguerite Gong Hancock, associate director of the Stanford Program on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SPRIE), represented Stanford University and SPRIE on the delegation's visits to the cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou in China. This was the second and final Asia trade mission led by Governor Schwarzenegger during his tenure.

While in Shanghai and Hanghzou, Hancock engaged with policymakers, university officials, and private-sector business leaders. She took part in visits to several major companies, including the Hangzhou headquarters of Alibaba, China's e-commerce giant, during its "Alibaba Fest," an annual innovation conference. While there, Hancock and fellow mission members met with the company's president and learned about recent goods and services innovations, and about its global expansion strategies. In Shanghai, she visited the home of Zap-Jonway, the recently merged California electric vehicle manufacturer Zap and Shanghai electric motorcycle company Jonway. Zap-Jonway's CEO Steve Schneider plans for the company to develop electric vehicles for commercial fleets, such as taxicabs and trucks. "It is a really interesting example of California and Shanghai coming together, bringing technologies from both sides and then positioning themselves for market growth both in China and here in the United States," says Hancock.

SPRIE is at the forefront of research about factors that nurture innovation and entrepreneurship, and has engaged in the last two years in significant research about green tech. Hancock was frequently asked about how to build policies and industry strategies that foster the economic growth of green tech and about the possible implications for China, both in terms of collaboration and competition, in the shift in Silicon Valley's economy toward green tech.

During the Asia trade mission, Governor Schwarzenegger also made several important public announcements, including the news that California is going to formally bid to hold the 2020 World Expo at Moffett Field in Mountain View, which would be a major opportunity to showcase the best of the region's innovation and entrepreneurship to the world.

For more details about Governor Schwarzenegger's Asia trade mission, please visit the State of California's website.


Topics: Business | Entrepreneurship | Innovation | China | Japan | South Korea | United States