AmCham Shanghai hosted its Inaugural Kunshan Municipal Government Dialogue on Friday, April 22 at the Swissotel Kunshan. Present at the event were over 15 Kunshan Municipal government officials, as well as nearly 40 distinguished representatives from the American business community. Representatives discussed Kunshan’s economic development at a morning roundtable.
AmCham Shanghai President Kenneth Jarrett initiated the roundtable with a presentation of the results of the 2016 China Business Report. Jarrett discussed the attractiveness of Suzhou Municipality to Chamber members, as it ranked second for a future investment and expansion destination for U.S. companies (Kunshan is a district of Suzhou Municipality). Jarrett also discussed the optimism of American companies in China as well as the operational and regulatory challenges facing American companies.
Following Jarrett’s remarks, Chen Genlin, deputy director, Kunshan Municipal Development and Reform Commission spoke about the Kunshan Municipal 13th 5 year plan, which is now publicly available for viewing online. Chen discussed the government’s key focus points, such as the development of an ecologically friendly city, a focus on supply side reform to cut costs for companies and becoming an area of influence in the South Jiangsu Innovation Demonstration.
Representatives from TE Connectivity, Eastern American and PPG discussed their companies’ development in Kunshan.
TE Connectivity’s Asia-Pacific Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) Senior Manager, Sun Xiaolin discussed TE’s focus on implementing S.A.F.E. – a global safety management system. S.A.F.E. focuses on safety fundamentals such as machine guarding, ergonomics, behavioral safety, powered industrial trucks, fall protection, and control of hazardous energy. Sun mentioned that 70 manufacturing sites globally were rated at 4 stars on the safety fundamentals. In addition, Sun discussed the expanding employee engagement internally for their company with measures such as the EHS Forum, Learn&TE EHS Academy, and EHS webinars.
Project Consultant Jason Lee at Eastern American discussed the advantages of investing in Kunshan, such as its geographical location, investment environment, stable taxation system, and skilled workforce. He also discussed some areas for improvement such as rising labor costs, electricity reliability and sustainability of a talented workforce. Lee spoke about ways to improve, specifically increasing the amount of service providers to handle industrial waste, increased infrastructure in establishing high-end restaurants and hotels, and streamlining the environmental audit process.
Asia Pacific Operations Director at chemical company PPG Kevin Ni discussed the company’s historic production growth in Kunshan, revenue expectations from 2015-2020, measures taken at their Kunshan facility to install air filtration and automate packaging, and the status of their Kunshan research & development facility which has produced multiple patents.
The event was supported by platinum sponsors Eastern American, PPG and TE Connectivity.