China, Alabama Huddle in Pine Belt

About 50 Chinese business executives and a few diplomats joined Alabama officials in Monroeville for the Alabama China Partnership’s (ACP’s) Fall Symposium in late September, discussing everything that influences international trade, from K-12 education to environmental regulations.

ACP was organized in the spring by Raymond Cheng, ACP’s chief executive officer and George Landegger, ACP chairman. Cheng also is CEO of the SoZo Group, an economic development company based in Hong Kong, and Landegger is president of Parson & Whittemore and former owner of Alabama River Companies in Monroe County.

This was the second symposium held in Monroeville. The first was held in March.

“The Spring Symposium was a huge success in bringing key Chinese businessmen together with Alabama’s state and local leaders, ” said Cheng. “The two-day symposium featured Chinese and U.S. speakers, tackling the latest global issues, including U.S. expansion for Chinese companies, foreign direct investment, corporate best practices and lessons learned in the process.”

Landegger added, “We believe that Chinese direct investment in the United States is vital for their future prosperity, beneficial to the United States’ economy and will help build bridges between our two great cultures.”

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Monroeville Mayor Mike Kennedy said, “As in March, we had a great opportunity to showcase Monroeville and Monroe County on a national level.”

Cheng, who is remodeling a building on Monroeville’s historic downtown square to serve as the ACP office, said he plans a U.S.-China symposium in Monroeville at least once each year.

Mike Qualls, managing editor of the Monroe Journal, special to Business Alabama

Mike Qualls

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