Md. Businesses Bring Home the Goods from Asia - Southern Maryland Headline News

Md. Businesses Bring Home the Goods from Asia

By Len Lazarick,

(June 15, 2011)—Visiting the headquarters of the Chinese Communist Party and government in Beijing last week, Gov. Martin O’Malley gave State Councilor Liu Yandong a framed copy of the manifest of silks and teas Captain John O’Donnell brought to Baltimore from Canton, China in 1785, beginning the city’s trade with Asia.

Tuesday, O’Malley met with reporters to show off his own manifest of goods brought back from a 10-day three-country economic trip to Asia.

University of Maryland College Park President Wallace Loh, a native of China and one of the stars of the trip, announced he had something he wanted to send to China to enhance the university’s already “very well known and highly valued brand in China.”

“My hope is that the Terps will play in China,” Loh said. He’s hoping for next year, which is the 40th anniversary of a visit of a Chinese ping-pong team to play at Cole Field House in College Park.

The governor let some of the business people on the trip talk about their own successes.

Terry Lin, CEO of Columbia’s Planned Systems International, came away with one of the biggest payoffs.

“We were able to sign a $45 million contract” with SkyNet of Xian for a cloud computing center that will document all the encounters with a physicians and a patients, Lin said. He predicts this will lead to more than 100 jobs in Maryland and China.

“Contract negotiations are very hard,” Lin said. The trip with the governor “shortened our contract cycle by easily six months.”

Bob Struble, president and CEO of iBiquity Digital in Columbia, said his firm has been working for years to export its technology for high definition radio to China and the rest of Asia.

“This trip was an excellent opportunity to raise our profile a little bit,” he said. Using talking points the company gave him, O’Malley boosted the business with several key partners.

Chris Barlow, marketing director of Manatron International Land Systems of Silver Spring, said the governor was helpful in citing the company’s work with StateStat. Barlow is trying to sell its services to Anhui Province, Maryland’s sister state for 30 years, and O’Malley spoke to the state’s vice governor.

Barlow hopes the conversations will pay off when the leadership of Anhui visits Maryland next month.

And Lin Hwang of J&R Seafood in Cambridge said the company had been exporting frozen blue crab to Korea. “I knew China was a good market and it was better than I expected,” Hwang said. He expects this trip to help his export business grow by 30%.

Don Kettl, dean of the school of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, has been involved in one of Maryland’s biggest exports to China: knowledge.

So far, 200 mid-career Chinese government officials have graduated from Maryland. That includes four of the vice governors of Jiangsu Province on the coast north of Shanghai, according to state officials.

Loh said the graduates also include judges and senior law enforcement officials.

“We’ve been working to train the next generation of Chinese government leaders,” Kettl said. Like other government officials, he said the Chinese are searching for pragmatic solutions. (While in Maryland for a year, their government agencies pay their expenses and out-of-state tuition.)

Besides his visits with fellow governors and the seat of power in Beijing, O’Malley also met with the president of South Korea and the prime minister of Vietnam.

“If I had one regret, it’s that we didn’t go earlier,” O’Malley said, as had been planned two and a half years ago. But the financial markets didn’t justify it then, he said.

O’Malley hopes to travel to South and Central America, India and Africa.

“I think you can’t be an effective governor in the global economy, in the innovation economy, unless you’re engaged aboard and doing the things that only a governor’s office can do especially in some cultures,” O’Malley said.

For more details on the contracts signed, see the following press release from the governor’s office.


Highlights include $85 million in direct foreign investments, creation of dozens of jobs by Chinese biotech; meetings with S. Korea President Lee and Vietnam Prime Minister Dung

ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 14, 2011) – Days after returning from a 10-day economic development mission to China, Korea and Vietnam, Governor Martin O’Malley today detailed the trip’s highlights and business wins that include the largest investment of a Chinese company in Maryland, meetings with more than half a dozen major Asian companies, and more than $85 million in direct foreign investments in Maryland. Joined by Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development Secretary Christian S. Johansson, Secretary of State John McDonough, University of Maryland College Park President Wallace Loh and other delegation members, Governor O’Malley highlighted the investment by Tasly Group, one of China’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, which plans to invest $40 million in a new 443,000 square foot production facility and training center at Shady Grove Life Sciences Center in Montgomery County and create dozens of jobs as they prepare for Phase III clinical trials of their traditional Chinese medicine product Compound Danshen Dripping Pills (CDDP) developed to treat and prevent coronary disease.

“With many of Maryland’s top business leaders and educators among our delegation, we sent a strong message to companies in China, Korea and Vietnam that Maryland is the gateway to doing business in the U.S., particularly in the life sciences and high tech industries,” said Governor O’Malley. “We are looking forward to welcoming Tasly to Maryland, and I am confident that this mission will continue to open doors for new investments and help Maryland businesses navigate untapped opportunities to provide goods and services to some of the world’s fastest growing economies.”

“At my inauguration in April, I identified four strategic priorities: student opportunity; innovation and entrepreneurship; internationalization; and service to the people of Maryland. The China visit is a step forward in advancing each of these goals,” said Dr. Loh in an email to the University of Maryland community. “I learned two things from this visit – the "University of Maryland" brand is widely recognized and highly valued in China and the opportunities for mutually beneficial UM-China partnerships are limited only by our imagination and engagement.”

Joined by a 68-member delegation that included Maryland business and education leaders, Governor O’Malley spent six days in China, three days in Korea and wrapped up the mission with a day in Vietnam to boost two-way trade and investment and promote Maryland as an ideal location for foreign-owned companies looking to establish U.S. operations, particularly in life sciences and technology.

In addition to the $40 million investment by Tasly, the Governor also witnessed the signing of a number of deals between Maryland and Chinese companies totaling more than $45 million, as well as the addition of two Chinese biotech companies – Sunscape and Cell Path – to Maryland’s International Incubator at College Park, as well as the renewal of DaSol, a Chinese solar energy company.

The deals included:

· Columbia, Maryland-based Martek Biosciences Corporation (now a division of Royal DSM N.V.), a leading global innovator in the development of nutritional products, renewed its partnership with Fortune Global 500 company COFCO, for the use of Martek's signature product, life’sDHA™ in cooking oils and potentially other categories. Later this month, COFCO will launch a new consumer cooking oil product featuring Martek’s life’sDHA, a sustainable source of DHA omega-3 for brain, eye and heart health.

· Baltimore, Maryland-based RTKL, a global design firm, will provide design consulting services to Beijing United Family Hospital.

· Maryland’s Towson University will provide a faculty training program and school management services for Pudong Educational Bureau.

· Baltimore, Maryland-based Wall Street Institute School of English will initiate an English language training program for the Shanghai Police Academy.

· Columbia, Md.’s Planned Systems International (PSI) and China’s SkyNet signed an MOU to jointly invest in a cloud computing center in Xi’an to serve China’s new healthcare reform and healthcare information needs. A cooperative R&D center will be established at PSI’s Columbia headquarters.

Among other highlights in China, Governor O’Malley delivered a keynote address to the 13th Shanghai BioForum, which attracted more than 500 global attendees and is one of China’s premier biopharmaceutical events. The Governor had lunch with Chinese biopharmaceutical executives and gave remarks at the Maryland China Banquet, attended by more than 300 representatives of Chinese companies, as well as Maryland companies doing business in China. In Jiangsu, he and delegation members met with Simcere Pharmaceuticals, a leading private (NYSE) Chinese biotech company and in Beijing the Governor met with State Councilor, Madame Liu Yandong, China’s most senior official for science and technology, education, sports, cultural and China’s sub-national relationships with the United States.

In Korea, Governor O’Malley met with South Korea President Lee Myung-bak on ways to increase trade and investment between South Korea and Maryland, as both regions have strong life sciences and technology industries. The Governor also met with South Korea’s National Minister of Knowledge Economy Choi Joong-kyung and signed a first of its kind Memorandum of Understanding between Maryland and South Korea’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy that seeks to encourage trade and investment, particularly in science and technology, between the two regions. The Governor addressed the Global Bio & Medical Forum, which attracted more than 600 attendees and is one of South Korea’s top biopharmaceutical events, and met with executives from Samsung Corp.’s Biologics Division, which was created as a partnership in early 2011 with North Carolina-based Quintiles Transnational Corp. to help the company expand into the biopharmaceutical industry.

Wrapping up the mission in Vietnam, Governor O’Malley met with the country’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on strengthening trade and investment ties between Maryland and Vietnam. The Governor also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore a sister-state relationship with the Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan Province. The MOU was signed by Ninh Thuan Province People’s Committee Chairman Nguyen Chi Dzung, who visited Maryland in 2009, and will be the first of its kind between Vietnam and a U.S. state to promote trade, investment and educational opportunities and cultural exchange.

The Governor also witnessed a number of signings between Maryland and Vietnamese companies.

· Rockville, Md.-based AmeriSure Pharmaceuticals, one of only a handful of U.S companies licensed to distribute pharmaceuticals products in Vietnam, signed an agreement to collaborate with VIMEDIMEX, one of Vietnam’s largest state-owned pharmaceutical firms;

· Baltimore-based Marlin Steel Wire, which manufactures custom stainless steel wire baskets, signed a business collaboration agreement with Vietnam’s Inox Hoa Binh, a state-owned steel production and fabrication firm;

· Rockville-based MIH-IDI Capital Group, a joint venture of Meiwah International Holdings and the Maryland Center for Foreign Investment, signed an agreement with Vietnamese firm Rising Sun Home Co. to serve as MIH-IDI’s agent to attract investment through Maryland’s EB-5 Regional Center;

· Blue Wing Environmental Solutions and Technologies based in Ellicott City received a commitment from the Vietnam Natural Resources and Environmental Corporation (VINANREN) to promote in Vietnam the Maryland company’s floating island products, which improve water quality, reduce the effects of erosion and beautify waterscapes.

Maryland has long maintained a strong presence in Asia, becoming the first U.S. state in 1996 to open a trade and investment office in China – the Maryland China Center. In 2008, Maryland opened a trade and investment office in South Korea, followed in 2009 by the opening of offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The State continues to trade heavily with Asia. In 2010, China was Maryland’s 3rd largest export market with $571 million in goods and services, and was the State’s 2nd largest import market, with more than $2.6 billion. That same year, Maryland exports to South Korea increased 133 percent to $481 million, making the country Maryland’s 6th largest export market. In turn, Maryland imported more than $525 million from South Korea in 2010, with automobiles, machinery and electrical equipment as the top import products. Last year, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s Office of International Trade and Investment engaged more than 250 Asian companies, helping to attract six new foreign firms from China and Korea to Maryland. In addition, the Office assisted 75 Maryland companies export their products to Asia, helping to generate $65 million in sales.

Maryland’s Office of International Investment and Trade works to stimulate foreign direct investment in the State, offers export assistance for small and mid-sized Maryland companies and coordinates international trade and investment missions and trade show opportunities for Maryland companies. For more information on resources available to business that want to market their products or services globally, visit

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