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Businesses Hopeful For Chinese Investment As State Tour Ends

Indiana business groups invited Chinese officials to tour the state in an attempt to build business relationships.

Chinese Delegation

Photo: Radius Indiana

R.J. Reynolds, president and CEO of Radius Indiana (center) addresses a Chinese delegation at the French Lick Resort about business and investment opportunities in southern Indiana.

A delegation of 19 Chinese business officials wrapped up their week-long tour of Indiana on Tuesday. They visited four cities including Lafayette, Indianapolis, Columbus and French Lick as a part of a trip arranged by Purdue University and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Executive Director of Purdue’s Global Business Engagement Mark Van Fleet says he hopes to sell the visitors on the strength of the state’s logistics, manufacturing and bio-tech sectors. He can only guess what kinds of investments the trip could produce in future years.

“You can’t predict,” he says. “It could be a large Greenfield investment. It could be a joint venture. It could be a relationship with Purdue for research. It could be they want to open an office in one of our research park for sales and distribution.”

Radius Indiana, an economic development group dedicated to promoting businesses in South Central Indiana, participated in the group’s tour of French Lick over the weekend–a stop designed to give the delegates a glimpse of Indiana’s tourism industry.

Radius Indiana spokeswoman Deb Owen says the officials expressed particular interest in small to mid-sized businesses in the area.

“We kept hearing phrases like we weren’t even aware this existed—these types of opportunity were in Indiana,” she says. “So they seemed to be very pleasantly surprised at what they saw and of course Indiana is a very business friendly environment.”

Van Fleet says the delegation will now return to China and report their findings to the national Ministry of Commerce. That ministry will then use their report to advise companies on where to invest.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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