Reboot Charlotte: Attracting International Business
CHARLOTTE, NC - They may be based thousands of miles away, but many think foreign companies have a growing stake in Charlotte's future.
"We're in a global economy, we ignore that to our peril," explains Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx.
Of the 650 international companies in Charlotte... 130 come from Germany, nearly 70 from the UK, almost 60 from Japan, and 8 from China.
On Thursday, Mayor Anthony Foxx leaves for a 10-day trip to China.
The Mayor and members of Charlotte's International Cabinet will not only try to recruit business.
They'll look for new markets for goods made in Charlotte.
"We're talking about the 2nd largest economy in the world in China, and it would be tough for us to ignore the growth of that economy and not try to take advantage of opportunities that are helpful to Charlotte businesses," Foxx explains.
One of the cities the delegation will visit is Charlotte's very own sister city, Baoding, considered one of the clean energy hubs of China.
They hope it could be a way to forge a new partnership half a world away.
"Sharing information, sharing feedback, sharing best practices, it's a way of building a relationship with another part of the world," Foxx says.
But others like Mayoral Challenger Scott Stone say Charlotte should focus on counties with a proven record of job creation.
"China's starting to do a little bit more but they're still a long ways away from other countries where we have a lot of investment," Stone says.
One of the best-existing relationships is with Germany.
Teupen brought its US headquarters to Pineville in 2009.
"I'd just say business-wise and personality and hospitality-wise it's an extremely friendly community," explains Teupen USA's Scott Reynolds.
Reynolds says Charlotte has advantages that stand out to foreign companies.
For example, our strategic east coast location, our international airport, and our proximity to the Port of Charleston.
"I think that success breeds success and I think that that pattern will continue. It's a very warm and welcoming environment," says Reynolds.
Queens University Professor Dr. Harry Bowen says reaching out to countries like China is important.
But he's concerned about the kinds of incentives we'd have to offer.
"Sometimes we may need to do that but I think that people would recognize that in the end you don't want to give away more than you're benefiting," Bowen says.
It's still too early to see if Chinese business can Reboot Charlotte going forward.. Helping to keep Charlotte competitive in the global economy.