So far, the emphasis has been on the supply chain, but automotive experts and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) hope that continued investment in the area will lead to much more, and they envision Chinese companies playing a big role in helping the city flourish after it emerges from its Chapter 9 bankruptcy restructuring, which got under way this year.
“They [the Chinese firms] want to be more global over time, so they need to look at North America. And if they’re looking at North America, this is the place to come,” Governor Snyder told reporters earlier this year.
Snyder is opening the door wide to China. In September he made his third economic development trip there in three years to court investors in all sectors, but mostly automotive. To date, he said, Chinese companies have invested about $1 billion in his state, 95 percent of which is related to the auto industry. Michigan companies exported 22 percent more goods and materials to China in 2012 than in the previous year. Although not all of the activity from China is auto-related, Snyder says he expects to see more Chinese involvement in the auto sector.
“Detroit is the value place in the United States, in Michigan, and potentially the world in terms of a great value opportunity,” Snyder said. “Come in and invest now, because there’s going to be a great upside.”
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