Miami chamber’s Asia Task Force targets China

Miami /
Aug.August 28, 2015 01:30 PM

An Asia Task Force organized by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce wants to organize Miami trips for Chinese journalists, investors and developers to help market the city to businesses and entrepreneurs from the Far East, The Real Deal has learned.

At its first brainstorming session Friday morning, the eight-member task force laid out its objectives.

Task force chairman Seth Gordon, a Miami publicist who represents Shanjie Li, the Chinese businessman whose company purchased a 2.39-acre site on Brickell Avenue for $74.7 million last year, said he wanted the Chamber to sponsor a delegation of reporters from China, who would then write articles about Miami’s business offerings. Gordon told other members he recently hosted a small contingent of eight Chinese journalists with assistance from Turnberry Associates founder Don Soffer and Carnival Cruise Lines.

“Don is very interested in working with the Chinese,” Gordon said. “He contributed a full week of rooms at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel and we flew them in with eight round trip business class tickets provided by Carnival.”

While the reporters were in Miami, Shareef Malnik, owner of the Forge, had them over for dinner at the storied restaurant’s wine room, Gordon said. In addition, developers Armando Codina and David Martin briefed the reporters on their respective projects. “If we do it as a chamber project, we can do something more serious,” Gordon said.

Peng Lu, Florida International University’s associate provost of international programs, said the college would like to coordinate events and activities, including meetings with top business leaders in Miami, for a delegation of 22 Chinese business people visiting the city in mid-September.

“Two of them are billionaires,” Lu said. “One is a frozen food king in China who wants to buy fish products from Latin America. They are all extremely interested in seeing what business opportunities are here.”

In exchange, Lu said FIU can assist the chamber in organizing a business delegation trip to important cities in China.

Andy Perez, CEO of South Miami-based EB5 Visa Funds, also suggested the chamber consider sponsoring classes on how to conduct business with the Chinese. “One of the most important things you can do is educate the chamber’s membership,” he said. “It’s very important, down to how you hand over your business card.”

The task force is scheduled to meet again at the end of September.


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