By Jay Fidell
Despite the global economic slowdown, China is strong and continues to grow. By 2030, China expects 400 million people to be moving to urban areas. They will need jobs, housing, health care, transportation and infrastructure. They will be spending money on food, housing and other consumables, especially energy. China is the world’s largest energy importer and is worried about not owning enough to sustain growth. The use of clean energy is a top priority.
What does this mean to Hawaii? It means opportunity, the chance to attract investment and increase sales for energy, food and other technologies that can help China manage its growth. The time has come to understand how this huge market force can be leveraged to help build Hawaii’s tech economy and how Hawaii can participate in China’s growth. Hawaii should be well-suited to the task – we have a special relationship with China. It’s our time to connect.
The Chinese are looking for business partners all over the world. They prefer investment that comes with expertise. Some will be interested in investing in Hawaii, in real estate and possibly business, to gain a foothold and make a return. To get in on things, we need to analyze our investment opportunities in China and see how Hawaii companies can obtain investment from China. Perhaps it can even be a two-way street.
That’s why this month the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, ThinkTech and Pacific New Media are presenting a two-panel luncheon program on “Reciprocal Investment” with China – Hawaii investing in China, and China investing in Hawaii. The program is reciprocal in the sense that it will explore investment opportunities going in both directions, and the relationship of one to the other.
Sponsored by Hawaii Business Magazine, the program will take place this Thursday, April 28th, 2011, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Plaza Club, 900 Fort Street Mall.
The first panel will cover Hawaii investments in China, and will feature tax attorney Roger Epstein of Cades Schutte as moderator; Jeff Au of PacifiCap; Jeff Lau of Oliver, Lau, Lawhn, Ogawa & Nakamura; Chris McNally of the East-West Center; and Mike Sacharski of Pacific Enterprise Capital.
The second panel will cover China investments in Hawaii, and will feature Chinese law professor Lifeng Tao of the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade as moderator; Charles Booth of the William S. Richardson School of Law; Bee-Leng Chua of HiBeam; attorney Alan Ma; and Scott Paul of Hoku Corporation.
As a special guest, Shanghai attorney David Mao of the Pioneer Law Group in Shanghai will also be coming in to provide his views on the subject. All in all, it’s an impressive array of experienced experts who can help us build our bridge to China.