WA China Watch Digest Special!

News: Hangzhou, home of Alibaba, aims to be China’s Seattle

China Global Investment Forum Hangzhou. Xinhua screenshot.By Wen Liu   Dec. 1, 2017

Lately, there have been quite a number of news reports out of Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang province, where former Mayor of Seattle Ed Murray visited in May 2016 and signed a MOU between Seattle and Hangzhou to support the promotion of technology and innovation, e-commerce, trade, economic development and life sciences.

Most of the reports were about the 2017 "China Global Investment Forum: Hangzhou," held from Nov. 20-22. Hosted by the City of Hangzhou and the Province of Zhejiang and co-produced with Euromoney, this year’s forum, themed "Sharing the Opportunity of Hangzhou, Co-building a World-renowned City,” drew nearly 1,000 experts, scholars and entrepreneurs from China and abroad.

One story stood out, however, with this headline, “Speed up development with manufacturing, Hangzhou strives to be China’s Seattle.”

Who said this? Chen Hanming, general manager of XIZI Aviation Industry Co., Ltd.

Xizi Aviation. Baidu screenshot.Mr. Chen was interviewed by the Xinhua news agency during the Global Investment Forum in Hangzhou. He was talking about the city’s high end manufacturing, especially aviation manufacturing, and its role in leading the development Hangzhou’s future industries.

XIZI Aviation, according to the reports and the website of its parent company XIZI United Holdings Limited, is a tier 1 supplier of airframe structure, the Ram Air Turbine door, in particular, for China’s brand new passenger jet C919 aircraft, and provides high quality products and services for Airbus, Boeing, COMAC, AVIC, Cessna, Bombardier, etc. With the over 500 orders of C919 COMAC has already received, XIZI would be producing over 1,000 RAT doors. In addition, Chen was encouraged by the advantage for his company brought by Boeing’s new 737 completion plant under construction in Zhoushan, in his province.

Why should Hangzhou be China’s Seattle?

Well, Chen said, Hangzhou and Seattle have many similarities. Seattle, for instance, has Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing, and Hangzhou has Alibaba, NetEase, and XIZI Aviation.

Chen Hanming of Xizi Aviation. Xinhua screenshot.How does Hangzhou compare to Seattle, or where does Hangzhou need improvement?

Chen pointed out three areas. One, Hangzhou should cultivate its industry giants that would be able to set industry standards and lead like Microsoft and Boeing. Two, while known as China’s “heaven” city, Hangzhou still has some catching up to do with Seattle in terms of blue skies, white clouds, and beautiful environment. Three, Hangzhou is inadequate in its transportation infrastructure and needs to develop further.

Well, Seattle. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. With all of Seattle’s problems, from perpetual homelessness to unaffordable housing, it’s good to know that Hangzhou wants to be just like Seattle.

(For more information on major events in Washington state-China relations, go to WA China Chronicle.)