The U.S. Franchise Trade Mission rolled into Dalian, China on November 7, their final stop on a tour of four cities that include Beijing, Chongqing, Nanjing and Dalian.
Dalian lies at the tip of the Liaodong peninsula and has a population of more than 6.5 million people. Driving in from the airport besides the massive cranes and the 2nd largest port in China, the city was awash with new building construction and the accompanying cranes to build them.
It is estimated that by 2015, more than half the building construction in the world will occur in China!
Stephen Green is the principal commercial officer in Dalian and with the assistance of his team arranged for all the meetings with the investors in cooperation with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, a very well connected organization and a key partner with the U.S. Commercial Service.
The Franchise Delegation was treated to a city tour which included a spectacular ride on the Ocean Road. Besides the homes and apartments reserved for Dalian’s wealthiest that dotted the cliffs above the ocean, the delegation witnessed an amazing sunset over the Yellow Sea.
The morning session in Dalian began with a welcome from Stephen Green and comments from both the sponsors of the mission, IFA and Franchise Times and from Mr. Dong Zhenming from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Andrew Gately then introduced the franchisors presenting in Dalian which included Rita’s, Jani-King, Sotheby’s, CKE, Round Table Pizza, Right at Home, Wing Zone and Fuddruckers. The USCS team had arranged for more than 100 investors to attend the session and there were personal appointments after the lunch. As is the custom and a sign of respect for the guests, a full sit down lunch including seaweed salad, jellyfish appetizer, sea cucumber, and pork elbow plus many vegetables not even recognized was enjoyed by all before the afternoon meetings began.
As the individual meetings wrapped up, the delegates began to peel off for home or other destinations in Asia to meet additional prospects. Bill Edwards and Mike Woida were both off for another week of appointments in China before heading home. Bill reported that it would be a full month away before returning home to California. Such is the life of an International Franchise Executive!