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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Shawn Reynolds
International Programs

Scott Kennedy
Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business

Last modified: Wednesday, March 25, 2009

IU to present major conference on U.S.-China business cooperation on April 15-17

More than 50 speakers from China and the United States will participate

March 25, 2009

Editors: Some presenters will be available for interviews, both in advance and during the conference. Contact George Vlahakis at 812-855-0846 or for details.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University and several of its research centers and schools in business, law and international studies are coming together to host an ambitious conference on U.S.-China business cooperation that is designed to assist entrepreneurs and promote the prosperity of both countries.

More than 50 speakers from China and the United States are participating in the free conference, "U.S.-China Business Cooperation in the 21st Century: Opportunities and Challenges for Entrepreneurs."

The first day of the program will take place on April 15 in downtown Indianapolis; the conference will then move to the IU Bloomington campus on April 16-17.

Presenters will include Michael Barbalas, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in China; IU President Michael A. McRobbie; Vincent Mo, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of SouFun Holdings Ltd.; Daniel Wright, senior vice president of Stonebridge International and former managing director of U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue; and Ling Lanfang, chairman of the board of the Silk Road Group, a diversified, 2,000-employee company based in Zhejiang Province.

Also participating will be Stephen Akard, director of international development for the Indiana Economic Development Corp.; Stephen Sterrett, chief financial officer of Simon Property Group; and scholars from IU's Kelley School of Business, Maurer School of Law, College of Arts and Sciences; Zhejiang University, the Thunderbird School of Global Management; Arizona State University and Peking University. The mayors of Indianapolis and Columbus, Ind., will offer their perspectives on economic development, as will other participants from Cummins Corp., Eli Lilly & Co., NICO Corp. and Baker & Daniels.

Scott Kennedy

Scott Kennedy directs IU's Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business, which is organizing the conference.

Print-Quality Photo

There is no cost to attend the conference, but registration is required. Complete information is available online at

This program is part of the Initiative in Entrepreneurship and U.S.-China Business Cooperation, undertaken by IU's Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business (RCCPB).

IU President McRobbie, whose office is helping to organize the conference, said the program is one outcome of the university's efforts to strengthen its position as a leader in internationalization and to benefit all Hoosiers.

"This conference brings together prominent scholars and business people from Zhejiang University and other parts of China," McRobbie said. "The topic has considerable immediate relevance to current fiscal issues and the importance of U.S.-China relations, and we expect that both sides will learn much from the experiences of the other."

Michael McRobbie

Michael McRobbie

Print-Quality Photo

"We also hope this meeting will provide opportunities to explore further collaboration between our institutions, and between the state of Indiana and Zhejiang province," McRobbie continued. "The level and extent of participation from China and the U.S. is a clear indication of Indiana University's standing in China."

Between 2000 and 2007, American exports to China rose by 300 percent -- the fastest growth of any U.S. export market -- and Indiana exports there rose by 355 percent. China now is the United States' third-largest export market. Indiana exported $758 million worth of goods to China in 2007, making it the state's sixth largest export market. Direct investment between the two nations also is growing.

Scott Kennedy, RCCPB's director, said the conference will provide opportunities to meet and network with American and Chinese entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and investors and find new business opportunities across a wide range of industries.

"By bringing together American and Chinese leaders in business, finance, corporate law, government and academia, the conference will have genuine business and scholarly value that will benefit both countries," Kennedy said.

"Particularly in these times, it is more important than ever to foster and develop opportunities for cooperation," he added. "There are opportunities for investment, trade, and other relationships across a wide range of industries that are ripe for substantial expansion. We believe Indiana entrepreneurs are particularly well positioned to take advantage of these opportunities."

Presenters will provide practical advice on managing the challenges of doing business with China and learning about regional strategies to support business cooperation there.

"The active engagement of Professor Scott Kennedy in the planning, funding and implementation of this conference and the long-standing relationship with Zhejiang University have been key factors in bringing about an event of this importance and scope," said Patrick O'Meara, IU vice president for international affairs.

The first day of the conference, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at University Conference Center, 850 W. Michigan St., in Indianapolis, will focus on the theme, "Expanding U.S.-Chinese Business Cooperation in the Current Economic Climate." Chinese and American entrepreneurs will share their success stories. Panels will discuss emerging business opportunities with China, obstacles to mutual cooperation and regional strategies.

Wright will conclude the day's program with a briefing on U.S.-China relations.

The second day, which will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St., in Bloomington, will tackle entrepreneurship issues. Panels will discuss regional entrepreneurship patterns, business innovation in China, challenges presented by the issues of globalization and protectionism and the legal and political environment.

On the third day, the Elmore Entrepreneurship Law Clinic in the IU Maurer School of Law and Kelley School of Business will present a morning-long workshop about legal services available to startups in both countries. For some, there also will be a tour of leading companies in central Indiana. In the afternoon, Vincent Mo, leader of China's largest online real estate market resource and an IU economics alumnus, will give a presentation and meet with students and others interested in China.

The conference's primary organizers are the Research Center for Chinese Politics & Business and the IU Office of the President. They are being supported by the IU Center for International Business Education and Research in the Kelley School, the College of Arts and Sciences, the IU Maurer School of Law and the offices of the vice president for international affairs and for engagement. Gold sponsors are Cornerstone Information Systems and the Enlight Foundation. Silver sponsors are the Indy Partnership and Baker & Daniels. Bronze sponsors are the American Chamber of Commerce in China, Simon Property Group Inc., the City of Indianapolis and Taizhou Huatian Industries Corp.

Caijing Magazine, China's leading business news magazine, is the conference's exclusive Chinese media partner.