Official Launch of USF’s China Business Studies Initiative

by Alyssa Aninag

On Saturday, February 8th, USF officially launched the China Business Studies Initiative (CBSI). This event showcased the Initiative’s goal, which is to create the vital link between China and the business community of San Francisco, the gateway city of international commerce. Professor Xiaohua Yang serves as the Director of CBSI and spearheaded the launch. Executive board member and USF Professor Stanley Kwong was the day's Master of Ceremonies.

Invited guests and speakers, many of whom are China business professionals, warmly congratulated the University and members of the Initiative’s executive board for this innovative undertaking. Distinguished guests, including the honorable Phil Ting, California State Assembly Member, and Mengjun He, USF School of Law alum, legal advisor and member of the state board for District 1, presented honorary certificates to the School of Management and USF for creating a superlative Initiative that provides students a more cognizant global perspective. Del Christensen, Chief of Global Business Development, Bay Area Council, and Jing Lu, Executive Director, Carits, Shenzhen Tsinghua University offered congratulatory remarks and shared their excitement for what the Initiative has already accomplished.

China Business Studies Launch in the Media

Like many of the event’s guest speakers, the Economic and Commercial Counselor for the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China Xia Xiang flew in from China and praised the timing of the launch to coincide with Chinese New Year. Xia said, “Today’s launch is a great kick-off to be followed by highlights and achievements within business studies. This is the Year of the Horse and I can very well see the horse of the Business Studies Initiative galloping towards success.” Xia continued, “As we look back on 2013, I’m pleased to see that it has been a year full of challenges and delights for China business relations. We have every reason to be confident in the U.S. and China ties this upcoming new year.”

Jeff Wu, Chief Marketing Officer at Pactera, an international consulting and technology services company and key launch partner and sponsor of CBSI, arrived expecting California blue skies and sunshine. Instead, he was welcomed by a storm, and commented on the rain’s timely relief of the California draught. “Today we are celebrating how systematic and comprehensive the China Business Studies Initiative is to not only the future business leaders, but to today’s business leaders as well,” Wu said. “It is a solution to the problems in today’s world, and the rain accentuates the timeliness of the Initiative.”

A panel discussion entitled, “The Future of Chinese Multinationals: The Next 10 Years,” brought forth distinguished speakers who provided a diverse set of perspectives from the academic and public sector. Moderated by Professor Barry Doyle, each panelist gave their viewpoint on the rapidly growing economic relationship and the future of Chinese multinational business corporations. Robert Jones, co-founder and president of the EcoLinx Foundation and Advisory Board Member of the US/China Clean Tech Center, began this discussion by stating, “China’s newfound economic stature has allowed it to build strong relationships across the globe, giving China immense geopolitical leverage.”

Wayne Wang, Chairman and CEO of CDP, the first human resources outsourcing service provider in Greater China, brought his HR perspective and focused on the very humanistic quality of business relations. Wang stated, “HR is far more than recruitment. We follow the lifecycle of a person working within a company; everything is related to people. When we talk about the globalization that USF will bring, we have to remember globalization is related to people and the people-business.”

Jeff Leader, former Director of International Relations for the California Assembly, called attention to the challenges specific to Chinese multinationals. Specifically, he talked about challenges regarding assimilation into U.S. business culture with attention to government relations and coalition building. William Wei, Director of the Institute of Asia Pacific Studies at MacEwan University School of Business emphasized the energy regulation and relationship of Chinese business.

Darlene Chiu Bryant, USF ‘85 alum, Executive Director for ChinaSF, and appointee by Mayor Ed Lee for the Foreign Trade Office gave her personal account of how she could remember a time where there was no Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. “Things have changed. China is coming here to stay. So what are we doing now? Why are the Chinese coming here? They’re here because they understand that S.F. is open for business. This is the gateway to the best of the U.S. This is the gateway to the rest of the world. But in order to have an in, they know they have to hire local people who understand the Chinese and the U.S. business infrastructure. And the way to do that is all through education.”

The launch of the China Business Studies Initiative exhibited what can be accomplished when people come together in a shared quest to grow and develop. The Initiative has achieved what so many can’t — influential leaders and partners striving toward a common goal and a common good.