Gov. Rick Snyder spent the first two full days of his eighth investment mission to China promoting Michigan's global leadership in mobility and autonomous vehicle technology development and delivering the message that Michigan is an ideal tourism destination for Chinese travelers.
Today in Beijing, Snyder signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China to further advance innovation and cooperation within the automotive and technology sectors, including new energy and autonomous vehicle technologies.
"Mobility is transforming the global automotive industry, and the possibilities for collaboration that exist between Michigan and China in terms of green, intelligent, and electric vehicle technologies are great," Snyder said. "The state of Michigan continues to demonstrate leadership in the field, from our world-class autonomous vehicle testing facilities to global partnerships that will make travel safer and our modes of transportation more accessible and efficient."
The formal agreement to collaborate in automotive research, technology, and innovation aims to accelerate the commercialization of emerging mobility technologies beneficial to Michigan and China.
"Michigan was one of the first states to begin a formal relationship with China, and we are committed to a partnership that allows that to thrive," Snyder said. "The importance of building relationships with other nations cannot be overstated as advancements in manufacturing and mobility will continue to improve lives across the globe."
On Sunday, Snyder and his delegation met with representatives from Chinese travel media outlets to discuss tourism and leisure travel opportunities in Michigan, highlighting the state's vast natural resources and continued growth and excitement in Detroit.
"We are telling the Pure Michigan story, highlighting the diversity of our state -- a state with abundant natural beauty, exciting destinations, unique experiences, and friendly people," Snyder said. "In our conversations with the media here, we are finding they continue to be impressed by Detroit's comeback and all that Michigan has to offer."
The number of international visitors from China between 2011 and 2017 increased 84 percent. International travel spending in Michigan increased 24 percent from 2011 to 2017. In 2017, international travel spending was $2.2 billion, with Chinese visitors spending $354.2 million. They were second only to Canadians, who spent $405 million.
Concurrent with the governor's mission, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation is leading 11 Michigan companies to China to meet with prospective business partners, distributors and buyers to increase export opportunities from Michigan to China. China is Michigan's third-largest export market, with exports valued at $3.67 billion in 2017.
The participating companies are:
Advanced Blending Solutions (Menominee) -- A designer and supplier of material handling, blending, and controls for the plastics industry.
AeroTrain Corporation (Flint) -- Designs and develops training aids for avionics, aircraft engines, aircraft systems, instruments and electrical system relevant to aircraft maintenance training.
Carter Manufacturing Co. Inc. (Grand Haven) -- Offers a full line of roller and needle bearings, including specialty items such as stainless steel, polyurethane coated and chrome-plated options.
Corrigan Air & Sea Cargo (Romulus) -- Provides turnkey supply chain management services and solutions.
eVitamins.com (Shelby Township) -- An online retailer of health and beauty products including vitamins, supplements, herbs, skin care and more, with shipping to more than 86 countries worldwide.
McKeon Products (Warren) -- A leading manufacturer of a full range of moldable and pre-molded silicone and foam earplugs for hearing protection needs.
P3 North America Inc. (Southfield) -- Provides management consulting and inventive engineering solutions that accelerate the development of mobility products and services.
Qtek LLC (Chassell) -- A mineral technology company dedicated to developing innovative solutions, and promoting and evaluating advancements in mineral technologies.
Supply Chain Solutions (Grand Rapids) -- Optimizes supply chain performance, helping clients reduce costs and improve service to their customers.
Tech Defenders (Grand Rapids) -- A U.S.-based IT asset disposition/repair depot that specializes in iPads, MacBooks, and Chromebooks.
Techmark Inc. (Lansing) -- A globally active engineering firm specializing in the design, installation and service of ventilation systems for produce storage. Techmark specializes in potato and other root crops.
Snyder departed for China on Friday, Sept. 14 and will return to Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 22. During the mission, he will make numerous company visits and meet with business leaders and senior government officials in Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai in addition to Beijing.
This trip marks the Snyder administration's 29th foreign investment mission. Other missions led by Snyder or Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have included France, Japan, South Korea, Canada, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Latvia, Israel, Chile, Colombia, India, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Austria, and the United Kingdom.
In 2018, Michigan ranked third in the nation for number of investment projects from China. Michigan also ranked first in the Midwest for number of jobs created by Chinese investment. Since Snyder's first visit to China in 2011, Michigan has seen $1.21 billion in new investment from China, resulting in 6,304 jobs for Michigan residents.