News

Jun 272017
 

AM General

A Chinese-owned, Silicon Valley-headquartered company has announced an agreement to acquire the Mishawaka commercial assembly plant of South Bend-based AM General LLC. SF Motors says it plans to produce “environmentally-friendly, intelligent” electronic vehicles in St. Joseph County. The company is a subsidiary of Chongqing Sokon Industry Group and says it intends to retain the facility’s full current work force and invest $30 million into upgrades.

The plant, which employs around 430 in Mishawaka, is operated independently of AM General’s military assembly plant in the area. MAP operations will not be affected. SF Motors says it is not releasing financial details of the acquisition, but says the only current customer contract at the CAP is slated to expire at year’s end, which would result in the shutdown of a production line. AM General’s website says its commercial operations have assembled more than 1.5 million vehicles in more than 50 years, including the Hummer H1 and H2, Ford Transit Connect Electric, MV-1 paratransit vehicles and Mercedes-Benz R-Class.

SF Motors Chief Executive Officer John Zhang “this transaction represents a unique opportunity to grow our intelligent electric vehicle business through the addition of an existing production facility and a skilled work force. We are excited to work closely with our new Indiana-based team to produce SF Motors’ next-generation electric vehicle in South Bend, Indiana, and we look forward to becoming a part of the local community and a strong contributor to Indiana’s economic growth.”

SF Motors recently set up its North American headquarters in the Silicon Valley and a research and development operation in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The company has ambitious plans in the U.S., which include establishing an EV clean mobility brand based on the West Coast that will source its parts primarily in the U.S. and create a supply chain in the country.

AM General CEO Andy Hove calls SF Motors “the right long-term owner to support the CAP, as well as the South Bend community and the State of Indiana.” He adds “this transaction puts the CAP on solid ground to keep the assembly lines running, providing our tremendously talented and dedicated employees new opportunities as part of SF Motors and its plans to produce next-generation electric vehicles. South Bend has been AM General’s home for nearly 30 years, and following the sale of the CAP, we will maintain our deep ties to the region as we continue to operate our military business, which is profitable, strong, and growing.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter. It is awaiting industry approvals, as well as clearance from regulators in the Unites States and China.

Story Courtesy of Inside Indiana Business/Dan McGowan

Jun 202017
 

CASS Symposium

On June 12, 2017, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences hosted the US-China Think Tank Symposium at the World Food Prize facility in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. The day-long event, which hosted two dozen speakers including former Ambassadors J. Stapleton Roy, Kenneth M. Quinn and Julia Chang Bloch, featured topics on the US-China relationship under the Trump Administration, US-China trade and economic cooperation and the future prospects of cooperation between the world’s two largest economies. ACSI Executive Director, Colin Renk, presented to the Symposium on state/province exchanges and cooperation.

May 9, 2017: ACSI Hosts Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

 Posted by on May 15, 2017  News  Comments Off
May 152017
 

CASS

On Tuesday, May 9th, ACSI hosted a delegation from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) to Indianapolis. Named the top think tank in Asia by Foreign Policy magazine, the delegation, led by Dr. Wang Lei, met with executives from Indiana University, the International Center and the Office of Mayor Joe Hogsett to discuss collaborative opportunities for engagement and exchanges between China and Indiana.

Apr 132017
 

BeijingWest Industries, Co. Ltd. (BWI), a premier chassis supplier that designs and manufactures brake and suspension systems for the global automotive market, announced plans to locate its first U.S. production facility in Indiana, creating up to 441 new, high-wage jobs by 2021.

“BWI had options when deciding where to locate its first U.S. facility, and I’m thrilled they chose the Hoosier state,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “Indiana is home to the second largest automotive industry in the nation, and we offer companies like BWI close proximity to their customers. As a state, we must continue to provide the skilled workforce, world-class infrastructure and pro-growth tax climate that attracts and supports business and residents.”

The Beijing-headquartered company, which serves more than 31 customers around the world and provides the highly-acclaimed MagneRide® suspension system, will invest more than $80 million to build and equip a new 276,514-square-foot manufacturing facility in Greenfield’s Progress Park. The global company, which generated $2 billion of new business in 2016, plans to break ground on the new facility this summer and launch production in August 2019. With its growth, BWI expects to increase its production by 4 million parts per year to meet the continued demand from its customers, which include Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Porsche.

“BWI is excited to be working with the state of Indiana and Hancock County on this extremely important project,” said John Beres III, assistant president and global director of BWI. “We are appreciative of the support given to us at the state and local level. This plant will expand our North American footprint to support our U.S. customer base.”

BWI employs nearly 5,000 associates across more than 17 facilities around the world, which includes operations in China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland, United Kingdom and the U.S. The company operates seven manufacturing operations and seven technical centers, including one in Dayton, Ohio. The Indiana-based facility will be the company’s first manufacturing site in the U.S. 

BWI plans to begin hiring for machine operators, maintenance and lab technicians in February 2018. These positions are expected to pay average salaries higher than the state average wage. Interested applicants may apply online at the start of 2018. In addition, the company plans to work with Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, which is the largest singly-accredited statewide community college system in the nation, to help develop workforce training.

BWI, a joint venture of Shougang Corporation and Beijing Fangshan State-Owned Asset Management, was formed in 2009 when the company bought the brake and suspension business of Delphi Automotive, which was once a part of General Motors. Since its 2009 acquisition, BWI has added 25 automotive vehicle manufacturers to its customer base.

Pending approval from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) Board of Directors, the IEDC will offer BWI North America Inc up to $4,550,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of Greenfield will consider additional incentives at the request of the Hancock County Economic Development Council.

“Thank you to BWI for choosing Indiana for their growth, bringing numerous job and economic opportunities to our city,” said Mayor Chuck Fewell. “This decision is confirmation that our low-cost, reliable utilities and other amenities contribute to making Greenfield an attractive place to do business. We look forward to working alongside BWI on their new facility in Greenfield and are excited about the long-term relationship between both a great city and company.”

Indiana is home to approximately 800 foreign-owned business establishments, which provide more than 152,000 quality jobs for Hoosiers. With more the than 1 million cars assembled in Indiana each year, the Hoosier state is home to the second-largest automotive industry in the nation by GDP, providing BWI close proximity to a leading automobile industry. As of 2016, China is the state’s second largest import country and is ranked fourth largest for exports. 

Apr 132017
 

A local engineering company’s immigration attorney worked to provide reassurance to members of the Columbus international community who have been anxious about future U.S. policy affecting foreign workers.

Before introducing LHP Engineering Solutions’ in-house attorney to the group of about 50 at The Commons on Thursday, LHP owner Ryan Hou explained he had been where they are now — 32 years ago, when he was in the United States on a work visa.

“I understand the frustration and anxiety in the process,” he said.

When he was starting out, Hou hired his own attorney to shepherd him through the process of getting a green card, a process that back then took months. Today, for workers from China, the process can take five to seven years. For workers from India, it can take 10 years.

While facing those kind of waits, anxiety has further intensified among LHP employees and others in the international community in Columbus as the Trump administration rolls out different possibilities about rules for foreign workers in the U.S., including rules interpreted inaccurately on social media, said Blair Wheat, LHP’s in-house specialist on employment-based immigration law.

Colin Renk, executive director of the America China Society of Indiana, described the landscape as foreign policy dictated by Twitter, with leaders who are governing communicating directly with the governed — with some unintended misconceptions creating even more confusion.

“We’re getting a stream-of-conscious policy coming out without it being finalized,” Renk told the group. “There are ramifications to that.”

Among them has been an estimated 50 emails a day from LHP employees to Wheat, who was the main speaker for Thursday’s session. The emails have contained questions about what will happen to international families if the new administration changes the H1B visa program.

About H1B visa

An H1B is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. The program is used extensively in Columbus to provide engineering talent to area manufacturers.The United States issues about 85,000 new H1B visas each year, and recipients may stay in the United States up to six years — with most of the visas going to high-tech workers, according to the federal government. The visas are so popular that the federal government conducts a lottery to distribute them.

Wheat reassured people in the audience on Thursday — many from China, Japan and India — that employment-based immigration in not ending as they know it. The anxiety is occurring when individuals do their own research on the Internet, he said.

Thursday’s session was designed to provide an objective, clear explanation of the immigration policy as it exists now, and also provide an explanation of pending federal legislation about immigration, he said.

The session was different from a gathering earlier this year sponsored by the Islamic Society of Columbus Indiana, which met at IUPUC in February to discuss the effect of President Trump’s first executive order on the local Muslim community.

That order on immigration would have prohibited citizens of seven countries with primarily Muslim populations from being allowed entry in the United States for 90 days. The countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. All refugees were to be banned from entering the United States for 120 days. That executive order was stayed during the IUPUC meeting and a second, modified one was also put on hold by a federal judge.

Thursday’s session was about current immigration law and pending legislation that could affect international workers who are here legally, but could have their efforts to obtain permanent resident status stymied by proposed changes.

Immigration law process

Wheat began by explaining the process the federal government uses to make administrative changes in immigration law and how slow that process is.He then talked about a leaked purported executive order from the Trump administration, never issued, that has circulated on social media, creating a great deal of fear among the international community who are utilitizing work visas.

The leaked document said the Trump administration wanted to roll back some of the immigration advances the Obama administration had put in place and change the process for obtaining an H1B from the lottery system with a system of giving the visas to the highest-paid workers.

Wheat said the likelihood of this document becoming a rule to be published under administrative changes in the law to be almost zero, describing the leaked document as campaign rhetoric.

Wheat then went through various House and Senate immigration-related bills being considered on the federal level and giving the merits, and problems, with each.

Saying it was not his assertion, but rather the research of those who calculate the likelihood of certain bills passing on the federal level, Wheat said the probability of any of the changes is less than 1 percent.

“It’s just unlikely to happen,” he said. “The H1B visa program has not changed for years and probably won’t change for years.”

Hou said he has become more politically active with federal candidates after seeing how much power government has on the legal immigration process and how frustrated workers are becoming in trying to obtain a green card — a process that can take decades. A green card signifies becoming a permanent U.S. resident, which includes permission to live and work in the United States.

Although LHP has in-house immigration counsel, Hou acknowledged that many companies don’t. He hoped Thursday’s session would provide some guidance and help to international workers in Columbus.

“We’re unusual — we’re a small company, but this is how important it is for our skilled engineers,” he said. “I understand both sides. I am an employer here and I have been an employee here on an H1B visa, and got a green card and became a citizen. All of these restrictions are making people scared.”

Hou was particularly dismayed at the United States’ continuing policy of pursuing top engineering talent from around the world and bringing them here for a short time, and then sending them home to compete with the U.S. in the future.

“They come to Purdue University, and work here for a time and we send them home,” he said of the international engineering talent that comes to Indiana but leaves after their visas expire.

“On a city level, for Columbus, I want them to feel welcome here, settle down here,” he said. “They need a green card to feel they belong in the United States.”

 

Article by: Julie McClure – The Republic

Mar. 1, 2017: ACSI Announces New Board Members

 Posted by on March 8, 2017  News  Comments Off
Mar 082017
 

FullSizeRender    shen

ACSI is delighted to announce the additions of Mr. Jay Chu and Dr. Shen Liu Macheel to its Board of Directors.

Mr. Jay Chu is President of East-Terra Plastics an advanced recycling facility capable of processing post-industrial and post-commercial plastics. Mr. Chu has extensive national and international plastics recycling experience and has used his knowledge to assist customers with their recycling needs. Mr. Chu has been a proud partner to the Indy Metro YMCA, Easter Seals, Shares and Toys for Tots.

A native of Anqing, China, Dr. Shen Liu Macheel is the Chief Business Development and Operations Officer at The GILS Group and Director of International Relations at the Invest Midwest Regional Center. At GILS, she oversees the organization’s operations in the international markets, working with business leaders on investment and immigration needs. At the Invest Midwest Regional Center, she has been actively involved with promoting foreign direct investment for a 33 county region in the state of Indiana.

Feb 232017
 

Holcomb Meeting

On Wednesday, February 22nd, Governor Eric Holcomb met with Chinese Consul General Mr. Hong Lei at the Governor’s Office in downtown Indianapolis. Accompanied by representatives from Wanxiang America, Hainan Airlines, Bank of China, Nanshan America, C&U Americas, Kingfa Science and Technology and CIMC Vanguard, the group discussed business and economic development opportunities with leadership from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation along with strengthening Indiana’s relationship with China.

Feb 082017
 

A company that imports tires from China has purchased a former General Motors plant in Indiana as a site to service its business customers.

Anderson economic development director Greg Winkler said Houston-based Sutong China Tire Resources is in the process of upgrading the 330,000-square-foot building, which was known as GM Plant 20.

The company plans to have 20 to 40 workers at the site, where it will service the utility and recreational vehicle trailer industry, large retail chain stores and independent tire retailers and wholesalers, according to Resource Commercial Real Estate, which was involved in the building’s sale.

Financial terms were not disclosed, The Anderson Herald Bulletin reported.

The building was built in 1972 to house ignition-production operations for the Delco Remy division of General Motors. It was operated by Delco Remy and related companies until 2007.

S&S Steel bought the plant for $1.5 million from the city of Anderson in 2010 for an expansion, but the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015 and put the site up for sale.

Sutong, founded in 1993, imports more than 5 million tires annually.

 

Courtesy of Indianapolis Business Journal and Associated Press

Jan 032017
 

President-elect Donald Trump will nominate Iowa Governor Terry Branstad as the next U.S. ambassador to China, choosing a longstanding friend of Beijing after rattling the world’s second largest economy with tough talk on trade and a telephone call with the leader of Taiwan.

The appointment may help to ease trade tensions between the two countries, the world’s two biggest agricultural producers, diplomats and trade experts said. Branstad has visited China at least six times, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has traveled to Iowa twice, including once while Branstad was governor.

Branstad’s appointment also suggests that Trump may be ready to take a less combative stance toward China than many expected, the experts said.

Trump in a statement cited Branstad’s qualifications including experience in government and longtime relationships with Xi and other Chinese leaders. The nomination, which will be formally made once the Republican president-elect is sworn in on Jan. 20, was well received, even among some Democrats.

“He’s tenacious, and trust me, with the Chinese, you need to be tenacious,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, said of Branstad.

Trump, who defeated Hillary Clinton in last month’s election, has said that when he takes office he intends to declare China a currency manipulator, meaning it keeps the yuan artificially low to make its exports cheap, and has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese goods coming into the United States.

Added to that, his unusual decision to accept a call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen last week prompted a diplomatic protest on Saturday from Beijing, which considers Taiwan a renegade province. Trump’s transition team played down the exchange as a courtesy call, but the White House had to reassure China that its decades-old “one-China” policy was intact.

Branstad’s established personal connection with China could help smooth a relationship defined largely by international security matters and by bilateral trade, where the massive U.S. trade deficit with the country is a source of friction.

“It means that the Trump team understands that it is important to have an ambassador who has access to Xi Jinping,” Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, said of the pick.

Branstad called Xi a “longtime friend” when Xi visited Iowa in February 2012, only nine months before he became China’s leader.

On Wednesday, Branstad said he and Xi have had a “30-year friendship” and added: “The president-elect understands my unique relationship to China and has asked me to serve in a way I had not previously considered.”

Before his nomination was announced, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang called Branstad an “old friend” of China when asked in Beijing about a Bloomberg report on the appointment, although he said China would work with any U.S. ambassador.

“We welcome him to play a greater role in advancing the development of China-U.S. relations,” he told a daily news briefing.

Xi’s ties to Iowa go back more than 30 years: He visited Iowa in 1985 on an agricultural research trip when he led a delegation from Hebei Province, returning 27 years later and reuniting with some of the people he had met.

Trump’s stance on China has been in particular focus since Friday’s call with Tsai, the first such top-level contact with Taiwan by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter adopted a “one-China” policy in 1979, recognizing only the Beijing government.

Story Courtesy of Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-china-branstad-idUSKBN13W0H3

Nov. 10, 2016: ACSI Celebrates Fifth Annual Gala

 Posted by on December 1, 2016  News  Comments Off
Dec 012016
 

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On November 10th, ACSI hosted its Fifth Annual Gala at the The Conrad in downtown Indianapolis. With more than 175 guests in attendance, the event began with performances by the Indianapolis Chinese Community Center, Inc. followed by a keynote address by Chinese Consul General Mr. Hong Lei. ICCCI was awarded the 2016 Friend of China Award with Mr. Jay Chu awarded the 2016 Friend of Indiana Award  for their continued efforts in strengthening economic and cultural ties between Indiana and China. A huge thank you to our event sponsors Buchanan Group, Greater Columbus Economic Development Corporation and Indiana Economic Development Corporation and our Table Sponsors: Barnes & Thornburg, Confucius Institute, East Terra Supply, Eli Lilly, Gaylor, Hoosier Energy, ICPAI/Lilly CCN, Ivy Tech Community College, JP Morgan Chase, Ogletree Deakins, Purdue China Center/Nanshan Fund and Telamon Corporation.