ISU, state officials see economic opportunities in China

April 12 2006

Building on existing partnerships with universities in China, Indiana State University is working with state officials and business leaders on ways to help Indiana become a major player in the rapidly growing Chinese economy.

A delegation from Indiana State, the Indiana Economic Development Corp., Indiana Department of Education and six K-12 school systems traveled to China in March. Stops on their 10-day journey included the Chinese capital of Beijing as well as Shanghai and Dalian, where ISU has partnerships with two universities.

ISU's primary mission on the trip was to support and broaden its ongoing partnerships with Liaoning and Liaoning Normal universities, help expand Chinese and U.S. university support for K-12 exchange programs, and explore other ways that ISU and its Chinese educational partners can help promote regional economic development.

"There are very real and exciting opportunities for Indiana companies to invest in what is becoming a hugely vibrant market in China and for attracting investment income from China. We hope to use our partnerships, exceptional educational programs, and research resources to help position Indiana favorably in China," said Kevin Snider, executive assistant to ISU President Lloyd W. Benjamin III.

"The K-12 exchange project is an excellent example of what education can do and we were delighted to find on our trip that both the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and Chinese provincial government officials clearly understand the value education can bring to economic success," Snider said.

Indiana has had a trade office in Beijing for 20 years, underscoring the significance the state places on relations with China, said Steve Akard, director of international development with Indiana Economic Development Corp.

"The trip to China provided a valuable opportunity to meet with government and business leaders to discuss expanding partnerships and exchanges with China. The IEDC developed new contacts in Liaoning province as a result of ISU's longstanding relationship with education leaders. Those contacts could result in increased trade and investment for Indiana," Akard said.

"Similarly in Shanghai and Zhejiang province, Indiana's sister state, we re-invigorated relationships with government contacts and established new relationships with industries interested in doing business in Indiana. We also learned about new areas of interest for educational and cultural exchanges in Zhejiang province as a result of ISU's initiatives in China."

As measured by purchasing power parity, China is already the second largest economy in the world after the United States and it has the fastest growing economy, noted John Conant, professor of economics and director of ISU's Center for Economic Education.

"The people of Indiana are going to be interacting with the people of China on a greater basis. For us to take advantage of those interactions, we need to understand their culture and their history. China is going to be a very major player in the world. Our economy depends on our ability to interact successfully with China," Conant said.

Teachers and administrators from the six K-12 school systems represented on the trip will meet April 20 in Indianapolis to discuss faculty and student exchange programs and collaborations with partner schools in Dalian. Schools involved are Brownsburg; Decatur County; Lafayette; Turkey Run; Washington Township; and Signature Education Center, a charter school in Evansville that focuses on global education.

Fostering business and educational exchanges between the two nations can go a long way toward ensuring cordial relationships between China and the United States, said a Chinese businessman involved in the trip.

"The more economic and business ties two countries have, the more likely the two countries will stay in peace and that's one of my biggest desires," said Aaron Zou, international manager for Asia Chief Industries, Inc.

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Contact: Kevin Snider, executive assistant to the president, Indiana State University,(812) 237-7778 or ksnider@indstate.edu

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3743 or dave.taylor@indstate.edu

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Indiana State University is working with state officials and business leaders to help Indiana become a major player in China's economy.

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