Cincinnati Chinese Chamber celebrates five years, looks to expand into Midwest

The Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce is looking to bring more Chinese investment to the Queen City.

For nearly five years the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce has set itself apart as the only Chamber of its type in the Tri-State area. It's often the go-to place for small- and medium-sized business that want to do business with Asia, which now boasts the second-largest economy in the world (following the U.S.)

This fall the Chamber is marking its unique past, and looking into the future as part of an anniversary celebration set for Nov. 8. The Chinese Chamber's Five-Year Anniversary Gala starts at 4:30 p.m. with a networking event, followed at 5:30 p.m. by keynote speaker Jim Rogers, president and CEO of Duke Energy. Rogers will speak on "Energy and the Environment: Challenges and Opportunities for US - China Cooperation." The gala will also feature members of the Liuzhou, China, General Chamber of Commerce Business Delegation. The event will be downtown at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

The event is not just celebrating the Chamber's five-years of connecting Cincinnati and Chinese companies, but is also serving as a coming out of sorts for the 115-member organization said, board chairman Ben Zhang said.

"We want to let Greater Cincinnati know we are growing, and where we are going," he said.

"We have been making some steady progress in the last three years, but we are ready to do something new to take our organization to the next level," he added. "We want to significantly raise the service level for our members."

Zhang joined the Chamber nearly three years ago, and is a vice president at Duke. The Chamber, which has historically relied on volunteers, has hired its first full-time director and is working to recruit larger corporate companies as members.

"Right now most of our members are small- or medium-sized companies, Zhang said. "We would really like to recruit more high-profile companies to be members."

The Chamber currently sponsors trade missions to China, has support from the Chinese Embassy and Chinese Consulate General, and has developed strong relationships with several growing Chinese provinces.  It offers a host of services to members including translation, business referral, development and promotions.

The Chamber has several big goals for 2011 and beyond, including upping its professionalism, strengthening ties with the Chinese business community and forging deeper relationships between larger Cincinnati and Chinese companies.

The Chamber is also working to expand its influence throughout the Midwest, working with business leaders in Columbus, Indianapolis and other Midwestern cities.

"We want to work with companies outside the Cincinnati area. Some places have organizations similar to ours, but they do not have the structure and organization of the Chamber," he said, adding, "We want to help bring investment from China to the Midwest."

To find out more about the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber or to register for its 5th Anniversary Gala, go here.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber Board Chairman Ben Zhang

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