NEW YORK–While the Western media publishes a slew of stories bemoaning the decline of the economy on the Chinese mainland, the Chinese-related economy in New York is thriving.
Looking to develop new business and break into this expanding market sector, a group of 50 professionals last week met for a dim sum lunch at Jing Fong, a bustling, football-field sized restaurant in New York’s Chinatown.
“It’s a growing community and they have a great energy and a great entrepreneurial spirit,” said Michael Becker, a senior vice president of strategy at Business Wire, which is expanding into China. “Our business is growing because Chinese companies, public and private, have a tremendous desire to communicate their products, vision and values, and we have the mechanism to do so.”
Organized by China Business Knowledge, an online publication focused on Chinese companies that trade on the US stock market, the event brought together Americans looking for cross-border deals with China, and Chinese nationals looking for contacts that can handle their US business.
“A few years ago there were a lot more conferences in the China sector, but they were sponsored by investment banks, and they stopped spending the money after the fiscal crisis,” said Janet Stites, publisher and editor of China Business Knowledge, and the event’s hostess.
“Even so, a lot of those conferences had speakers or panels, and people weren’t happy because they couldn’t talk,” said Stites, who founded AlleyCat News in 1996, the first US magazine to cover the intersection between venture capital and Internet companies. “So, I wanted to create an event where people can come together, have some good food and just network and talk. No speakers. As it is I can hardly get people to sit and eat. They just can’t stop talking to each other.”
It seems to be working. The event in Chinatown was the 9th held by CBK and the firm is expanding to other cities. It will hold another dim sum lunch in San Francisco on Oct. 22.
The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Chinese population outside of Asia. Some of the biggest Chinese-related cultural and political organizations are based here, such as the Asia Society and the National Committee on United States – China Relations, as well as China’s United Nations Consulate.
“There’s been exponential growth for Chinese nationals in New York City,” said Cindy Zhou, an attorney at the Loeb & Loeb law firm. “It’s been increasing every year and it’s very noticeable.”
With all this, business people in the Big Apple think there are still plenty of opportunities in working with Chinese nationals and Chinese Americans.
“I have an investor in Shanghai looking to purchase commercial real estate offices in New York,” said Barbara Eddington, a broker at real estate firm Mohr Partners. “This market is as hot as can be.” Eddington said she found the networking event very informative because she met interesting people with whom she looks forward to developing a long business relationship.
Mindi Wernick also found the event very useful. A year ago this MassMutual financial advisor opened an office in Chinatown with a Mandarin-speaking broker to connect with Asian business associates. She said a lot of people are coming from China and bringing a lot of money with them.
Not only did Wernick make many contacts at the lunch, but she said these people are centers of influence who could lead to both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) business development.
The sponsors of the event included Business Wire, Marcum Bernstein & Pinchuk, Mohr Partners, Newman & Morrison, CSOFT, Upright Position Communications and The Asia Times.
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