Gov. Dave Heineman led several meetings today with top level government and business groups, as well as Nebraska and Chinese companies to promote stronger economic and educational collaborations. The Governor is in Beijing on the first leg of a trade mission that will also take him to Xi’an and Shanghai.
Gov. Heineman addressed a crowd attending the one-year anniversary ceremony of Right at Home China, the newest international franchise of Right at Home, a homecare services provider that originated in Nebraska under the leadership of Brian Petranick, President and Chief Operating Officer. Joining Petranick, was Ms. Yao Li, President of Right at Home China, and Tony Buccheri, International Support Specialist with Right at Home.Ms. Li is founder of the world-renowned BN Vocational School that provides free vocational education to underprivileged youth.
In 30 years, the number of people in China, age 65 and older, is projected to eclipse the entire U.S. population, making senior care service crucial to China’s task of caring for its senior population.
Taking place next in close proximity was a signing ceremony between the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s (UNMC) UneMed, Vireo Resources, LLC, a specialty nutraceutical product processing and packaging company in Plattsmouth, Neb., and their newest distributor in China. UNMC developed “Con-cret,” a Creatine supplement targeting weight lifters and athletes, and licensed the product to Vireo Resources, LLC.
The new market is expected to so significantly boost production at the Plattsmouth plant that a facility expansion 4-6 times the current size may be called for, as well as increase the number of full-time employees, and overall company revenues.
In attendance were Gov. Heineman, Michael Dixon, Ph.D., and President/CEO, UneMed Corporation, Qian Zhang, Ph.D., Licensing Assistant, UneMed, Jialin Zheng, MD, and Professor, UNMC College of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology & Experimental Neuroscience, and Mark Faulkner, Chief Executive Officer and Owner of Vireo Systems, Inc., Madison, Tenn., and Vireo Resources, Plattsmouth, Neb.
Following this event, the Governor participated in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Nebraska and its long-time partner China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), which has officially sponsored all of the state’s trade missions to China since 1991. The MOU represented a “good faith” agreement between the two entities to continue enhancing economic relations in trade, industry, services and investment, facility increased involvement of the private sector in trade and commercial cooperation, an promote a favorable environment and complementary activities to encourage private sector investment between participants.
The Governor spoke to the beneficial Nebraska-CCPIT relationship during a luncheon attended by Jifei Wang, CCPIT Chairman. During the past three years, China has been the second most active investor in the state with six new investments, in addition to five Chinese companies locating their main U.S. operations here. China also is one of the state’s fastest growing markets, having more than doubled during the past five years with a 36% increase in 2011.
Following lunch, Governor Heineman was invited to Zhongnan Hai, the location of the State Council for a very special meeting then took place with Vice Premier Qishan Wang, and members of to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The governor and Vice Premier conversed about Nebraska’s past two successful Reverse Trade Missions and the mutual trade and investment goals and objectives the country and state share. Gov. Heineman pointed out the numerous Nebraska investments in China and the fact that over the last three years Nebraska has had 5 Chinese companies decide to have their main US operations in Nebraska, as well as one merger between a Nebraska and Chinese company that has led to substantial growth.
The day culminated with a duck dinner hosted by Governor Heineman. In attendance were mission participants, Chinese company business leaders considering investing in Nebraska, and four Nebraska “experts” currently working and doing business in China. While the Governor dined with the Chinese Company business leaders, other attendees selected one of four tables anchored by the experts that included Dr. Shaunglin Lin, Professor, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Alan Beebe, Managing Director, China Greentech Initiative; Charles Peace, Regional Director-Asia, Leo A. Daly; and John Long, Jarvis China.
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