Harbin Business Exchange in Brief
A Weekly Email Update . . . July 12, 2005

in this issue

Surprising Harbin - China's 1st Household Robot

Harbin Trade Fair a Success

Hotel Investment Opportunity

Promising Transportation Project


Surprising Harbin - China's 1st Household Robot

Did you know . . . The Harbin Institute of Technology in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province lead by Professor Hong Bingron is developing a humanoid robot designed exclusively for family use. The half-meter-tall wheeled robot can talk, provide security, and clean the house in 20 minutes using its built-in vacuum cleaner.

The whole idea of the design and development of the domestic robot is based on the "self-navigation" technology Hong and his colleagues developed after forming a Robot-Soccer Player Research Group at HIT eight years ago. With ultrasonic and other sensors around its body, Hong said, "it can carefully avoid obstacles and will not hit people or furniture."

The robot can also distinguish people using voice and image recognition systems. "He will be friendly when he meets an acquaintance and will sound an alarm when he meets somebody he doesn't recognize," Hong said. In addition, the robot can also tell its owner if certain domestic emergencies are happening. "Basically, its intelligence is like a child of seven or eight years," Hong said; though it can even be programmed to know where to recharge itself once its battery gets low.

Dear Friends:

We are back from China, and past our jet lag and holiday activities. The trip was a mix of business and pleasure. Our entourage included Jill and me, our associate, Xiong Her, and our 11-year-old son, Alex. Much of our visit was taken with the opening of the 16th annual Harbin Economic and Trade Exposition. We were invited to be among the special guests participating in various events and ceremonies. We were also touched by the continuing kindness of so many good friends, especially Xie Yingmei and her wonderful family, Wang Gui Lan, who provided fabulous accommodations for our stay in Harbin, Wang Xi Quan (Henry), who arranged events for our son and his daughter and other young friends, and Sun Yun Lah who hosted us our regular visit to her high-fashioned spa for haircuts and other services. (Details of this latest trip are found on our website, www.harbex.org.)

On the business side, we continued to advance our Hollywood restaurant proposal through important meetings with the Wanda Company. We also reviewed some outstanding investment projects. It is my hope that we can bring U.S. investors to these projects before other international investors do. We are particularly excited by the prospect of the investment in a key highway (the Fourth Ring Road) project that essentially privatized this critical artery. (See more about these and other investment below and on www.harbex.org.) Anyone who reads this newsletter regularly should know of my chagrin with the timidity of U.S. investors and the potential losses for our future economy if the U.S. does not take a substantial stake in the dynamic Chinese economy.

When we first began this newsletter more than three years ago, we predicted the coming of Chinese investment to America - which was virtually non- existent at the time. We identified what we called the "five waves of Sino-American business activities", which were (1) outsourcing for importation to the U.S., (2) establishing factories to manufacture for the American market, (3) selling to the growing Chinese market, (4) investment based on financial return in Chinese projects, and (5) predicting the eventual investment of Chinese money in the U.S. Now with the move by Haier to acquire Maytag and China National Offshore Oil Company to take over Unocal, the fifth wave is clearly upon us. This trend will likely develop with the lightening speed that seems characteristic of all things related to the Chinese economy. Of course, these investments cause some concern (as did the long ago investments by the enriched Japanese entrepreneurs.) There will have to be reciprocity of investment opportunity, in terms of both investment policies and available sectors. - Larry P. Horist, President, Harbin Business Exchange

  • Harbin Trade Fair a Success
  • A major trade fair closed in Harbin, the capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, with the signing of the export and import contracts worth of 3.96 billion US dollars. The previous 15 fairs attracted 1.1 million businesspersons from all over the world and struck deals worth of 70 billion USD. According to organizers of the 16th China Harbin Fair for Trade and Economic Cooperation, export deals clinched at the fair valued 2.26 billion US dollars, 47.7 percent more than the previous fair. The event has drawn more than 10,000 traders from 81 countries and regions across the globe including government representatives from Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Singapore, Malaysia and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China.

    In a high-profile endeavor to boost economic, trade, scientific and technological cooperation with Russia and revitalize northeast China's "rust belt", of a former unlively industrial base, a series of high-level promotions were conducted at the fair, resulting in nine major export and import contracts worth of 669 million US dollars. Values of mechanical and electrical contracts signed at the fair surged to 680 million USD, more than tripling that of the previous year. Participants at the fair also attached closer importance to those industrial projects involving high- tech, energy development and the exploitation of resources, widely deemed as a result of the national policy on rejuvenating China's former industrial base in the northeast.

  • Hotel Investment Opportunity
  • Songhuajiang Gloria Plaza Hotel

    Newly built is the Songhuajiang Gloria Plaza Hotel. Located at the nexus of the downtown area of Harbin, the hotel borders the Flood monument plaza, sits conveniently across the plaza from the recently opened Wanda Shopping mall, and is a few steps from the Songhua River walkway. There is always something exciting to see and do.

    All 83 deluxe guestrooms are equipped with IDD/DDD telephones, satellite television, and Internet access. Of course, each suite includes a soft comfortable bed. Also available are VIP guestrooms. For large- scale functions, multipurpose banquet rooms are available which are perfect for private parties or press conferences.

    Current owners are seeking a U.S. investor to acquire the hotel, participate in a joint venture, or undertake a management agreement. For more information on this or other projects, please send an email with the subject title "Songhuajiang hotel" to info@harbex.org.

  • Promising Transportation Project
  • 4th Ring Ring Road Project

    The final segment of what is called the Fourth Ring Road is open to Foreign investment and privatization. The project calls for a private investment or joint venture partnership with a prominent Harbin Construction Company to build and operate the Highway as a toll road.

    The road provides a vital link around the central city with feeder expressway as spokes into the city. It also is the major access to major region of the new city being constructed north of the Songhua River. In addition to the surface highway, the project includes a tunnel and two bridges - one crossing the Songhua River.

    The project has received all the necessary approval at the municipal, provincial and national level. HBE represents this project in the United States. For more information call (312) 565-4499 or email info@harbex.org.

    :: 312 565 4467

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