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October 26, 2012

China summit: Silicon Valley welcomes investment

Silicon Valley Business Journal

San Jose and Silicon Valley want Chinese companies to know the investment door is wide open.

That was the message at a closing forum Friday during the 2012 US China Economic & Technology Summit, a daylong event at San Jose City Hall focused on technology, economic trends and international investment.

The event came weeks after a new report from the Asia Society Northern California showing the state should become a top destination for Chinese direct investment by 2020.

San Jose officials want that money to come here. Kim Walesh, economic development director for San Jose, touted the large number of Chinese firms that have set up shop in recent years, noting the city's growth is slated to outpace San Francisco and Oakland combined.

"We've definitely seen more and more Chinese companies coming into our community, and we welcome them," she said. "The real estate here is a good value because of the growth that's projected."

Still, Chinese investment here is in its infancy, said Bruce Pickering, executive director of Asia Society Northern California.

"At this point in time, New Zealand has more money in California than China. But that will change," he said.

Skip Whitney, a broker with Kidder Mathews in San Francisco who has worked closely with Chinese individuals and companies on real estate transactions, said service providers -- accountants, attorneys, brokers bankers and others -- need to educate themselves on how to work effectively with Chinese investors.

"You've got to understand the culture," he said.

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