200 Years of Illinois

Illinois became the 21st state of the United States of America on 3 December 1818. Governor Bruce Rauner authorized by executive order a year-long celebration to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the event, with a multimedia campain at its center. Motto: Every day in Illinois, amazing things are being born, built and grown. Citizens are encouraged to participate in the celebration by visiting the website www.illinois200.com. Partners, event and project managers planning and implementing activities between 3 December 2017 and 3 December 2018 are encouraged to be endorsed as official parts of the Illinois Bicentennial.

Points of Pride

The twitter hashtag #IllinoisProud lists reasons for citizens to be proud:

  • Illinois is where the nation’s greatest rivers meet (Illinois and Mississippi rivers).
  • It’s where the largest Native American city once thrived.
  • Where the most trains cross and daily flights soar.
  • Where automobiles and hard roads got a start.
  • Where sound movies began.
  • Where a nuclear chain reaction was first controlled.
  • Where the first transistor gave rise to the computer age.
  • Where the theory of superconductivity was born.
  • Where the biggest fair in the nation’s history was held.
  • Where the mail-order catalog and the warehouse of goods behind it got its start.
  • Where the Blues echo and comedy is king.
  • Where more than a quarter million men volunteered to fight to end slavery and save the Union.
  • Where the nation’s biggest plant helped make the world safe for democracy.
  • Where the biggest restaurant company, biggest makers of mining equipment, aircraft, and tractors are based and where hundreds of start-up companies each year keep the engine humming.

Image source: Visit Alton, information source: www.illinois200.com

Illinois ranks fifth in GDP among USA states, and is positioned at the 1×5 slot within the G8x8. In 2016, it achieved a GDP of 791.6 billion $ and a share of 4.3 percent of the national total. Its GDP was slightly lower than that of Turkey and higher than the Netherlands.

London Economic Development Strategy

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched on 13 December 2017 his new Economic Development Strategy as a draft for consultation. This draft is open for discussion for three months until 13 March 2018. Sadiq Khan is “keen for London to remain the best place to do business, but wants to put more emphasis on the general wellbeing, health and happiness of Londoners”. He invites Londoners and other informed stakeholders to tell him what they think of his plans.

His website at https://www.london.gov.uk includes a survey and discussion forums on

  • Would you like to be involved in the development of new technology?
  • What sectors do you think are most important to London’s economy and why?
  • What do you think the risks are to London’s economy in the coming years?
  • How can technology be used to make London a better city to live in?
  • What do businesses need to thrive in London? What are the challenges they face?
  • How do you feel about the idea of having a Good Work Standard in London?
  • How able do you feel to achieve your career goals in London?

Sadiq Khan unveiled his draft Economic Development Strategy at the Federation of Small Business’ Winter Reception. He explained how he wants to build on his manifesto pledge to be London’s most pro-business Mayor ever. “I want to create an economy that delivers for everyone and leaves none of London’s communities behind.”

London is one of the richest cities in the world, but also home to some of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country. The strategy sets out measures to address this fact.

Innovative Solutions for London

The Mayor has also challenged tech start-ups and medium-sized businesses to develop innovative solutions that address some of the big issues facing Londoners. These issues range from inequality to air quality and health challenges of an ageing population.  Using funding from the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), 15 companies will be selected to receive business support. Up to three of them will receive £15,000 to further develop their ideas. He will set out the exact terms of this initiative, known as the Mayor’s Civic Innovation Challenge, next year.

The overarching goal of the Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy is to boost competitiveness and create a business environment that is not only friendly – in terms of helping investment and growth – but also fair, where all companies play by the rules and where all Londoners stand to benefit.

By channelling investment into key areas, equipping Londoners with the skills, education and training they need to participate in the modern economy, and by investing in infrastructure and offering targeted support to certain sectors – such as tech, life-sciences, and the capital’s creative industries – the Mayor believes he can deliver on this vision at the same time as helping London’s businesses go from strength-to-strength.

Source: Mayor’s Website

Image source: City A. M.

London ranks first in GDP among UK top level territories, and is positioned at the 5×1 slot within the G8x8. In 2015, it achieved a GDP of 378.4 billion £ (507.1 billion $) and a share of 22.7 percent of the national total. Its GDP was slightly lower than that of Sweden.

World Internet Conference in Zhejiang

The fourth World Internet Conference, also known as the “Wuzhen Summit”, concluded Tuesday, 5 December 2017, in Wuzhen town of Zhejiang province after three days of discussions and exhibitions of cutting-edge internet products.

The World Internet Conference in Wuzhen is an annual gathering of internet officials and internet company executives as well as administrators from developing countries. The previous three conferences in 2014, 2015 and 2016 were not attended by top US tech executives, but this year, leaders of IBM, Oracle, and Google participated in the event, along with the CEOs of well-known Chinese internet giants such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent, Huawei and Xiaomi.

The conference was also addressed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Apple CEO Tim Cook. In his written congratulatory address, Xi said that online developments were raising many new challenges to sovereignty and security, and China was “willing to work with the international community to respect cyberspace sovereignty and promote partnerships”. Apple chief executive Cook’s presence indicated the importance of the Chinese market for the iPhone maker, even though Apple’s market share of China’s smartphone market is shrinking.

Will Google Return to China?

Google’s India-born CEO Sundar Pichai made a strong case for the search giant’s return to China, saying it is already helping Chinese companies gain global access. Google was shut down in China in 2010 following a showdown with the government over censor policies. Since then Google, Gmail, Youtube and its other products are banned in the world’s second largest economy. “A lot of work Google does is to help Chinese companies”, the 45-year-old Google CEO, who has a BTech degree from IIT Kharagpur, said at the conference.

“Many small and medium-sized businesses in China take advantage of Google to get their products to many other countries outside of China,” Pichai told the meeting, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. After the ban, Google subsequently shifted its operations to Hong Kong. In its absence, Chinese firms like Tencent, Alibaba, Baidu and JD.com emerged most powerful players in China and abroad. Google and its products can be accessed in China through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) over which Beijing has stepped up a crackdown in recent times. Apple this year agreed to the Chinese government’s requests to remove dozens of virtual private network (VPN) apps services that allow Chinese users to access blocked websites from its local App Store. Skype, the calling app, was removed from its mainland App Store this autumn. Pichai’s attendance at the state sponsored internet meeting came after China recently lifted the ban on Google translation services.

Besides Google, a number of global social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter remain banned in China over fears that their presence would open-up to millions of China’s social media users marginalising the official media. In his address, Cook said “the theme of this conference – developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits – is a vision we at Apple share”, adding that Apple “is proud to have worked alongside many of our partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace”.

Info source: The Tribune, Image source: World Internet Conference

Zhejiang ranks fourth in GDP among Chinese provinces, and is positioned at the 2×4 slot within the G8x8. In 2015, it achieved a GDP of 549.8 billion € and a share of 5.9 percent of the Chinese total. Its GDP was higher than that of Argentina and Sweden, but slightly lower than that of Saudi Arabia.

Tokyo – London Collaboration

Yuriko Koike, Governor of Tokyo, and Charles Bowman, Lord Mayor of London, have signed and concluded the Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of London Corporation and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, on 4 December 2017. The Lord Mayor works closely with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, although they have distinct and separate responsibilities.

The two cities have a long history of collaboration across many sectors which have contributed to the economic development and prosperity in their respective countries and in the world. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG), which is the administrative body of the metro area, and the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO), are already working together on an agenda to revitalise Tokyo’s financial sector. The Financial Services sector is one of the key areas that continues to undergo transformation at an international level. In recognition of this the City of London Corporation (CoLC) and the TMG will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further deepen their exchange and collaboration in financial services, so that the two international financial centres can mutually prosper and grow. In addition, TheCityUK, as the industry body for UK-based financial and related professional services, has launched a Japan Market Advisory Group (MAG) of industry experts and is taking forward a programme to strengthen collaboration between financial and related professional services in the UK and Japan and this practitioner activity will complement cooperation between the two cities.

Collaboration Objectives

Working toward this goal, while the CoLC and TMG will deepen their examination of concrete actions, both parties hereby agree to commence consideration on their cooperation in the following

  • Cooperation in financial sector meetings, forums and information sharing between both cities.
  • Cooperation in building a wider alliance programme in the education sector.
  • Cooperation in developing and promoting Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) investment and green finance.
  • Cooperation in conducting promotional activities as international financial centres.

Tokyo has sister city relationships with many capitals of the world, including

  • Beijing
  • Berlin
  • Cairo
  • London
  • Moscow
  • New York
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Seoul

Information Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Image Source: Bureau of Port and Harbor, Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Tokyo and London are both G8x8 territories. The former is ranking first in GDP among Japanese prefectures, placing it at the 3×1 position. London ranks first among top level areas of the United Kingdom to take the 5×1 field on the board. Tokyo takes a share of 18.3% of the total GDP of Japan. London posted a GDP share of 22.7 percent of the UK national total.

China Competence in Hessen

Ten years ago, two chambers of commerce and industry (IHK) of the German state of Hessen predicted extraordinary growth of their mostly small and medium-sized member enterprises’ China business. This would mean a growing demand for China specific services from the IHK. These two were the chambers of Frankfurt and of Darmstadt, and they decided to jointly establish a “China Competence Center” (CCC). They celebrated the 10th CCC anniversary on 27 November 2017 at IHK Darmstadt, reviewing quite a success story.

Sonja Mueller, general manager of CCC, and the chambers’ department heads of international affairs Martin Proba (Darmstadt) and Dr. Juergen Ratzinger (Frankfurt) confirmed the great acceptance of this service with regional small and medium-sized enterprises, even beyond Hessen. In just one decade, the CCC assisted 770 Chinese enterprises to settle down in the Rhine-Main Area. It received more than 100 Chinese delegations, organized 150 major events, answered 4,400 enquiries and published 40 articles.

Beijing correspondent Stephan Scheuer of the German “Handelsblatt” business daily described in his keynote speech some of the latest developments in China. He pointed out that some sectors were given priority and special support in Xi Jinping’s development strategy, opening new opportunities for German companies. “In some other sectors, however, China is already much ahead of Germany and even of Silicon Valley, such as digitalization and online services,” said Scheuer.

Sonja Mueller presented examples of good cooperation between Hessen and China in a panel discussion with regional business people and sports celebrities.

More info and image source: Deutsch-chinesische Allgemeine (in German).

Hessen ranks fourth in GDP among the German laender, and is positioned at the 4×4 slot within the G8x8. In 2016, it achieved a GDP of 269.4 billion € and a share of 8.6 percent of the German total. Its GDP was higher than that of Israel and Hong Kong, but slightly lower than that of Egypt.

Paris Opens 5000 Seats Congress Hall

One of the largest halls in Europe with 5,200 seats was opened on 22 November 2017. It is part of the Paris Convention Center which was inaugurated in the presence of Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris. Valérie Pécresse, President of the Île-de-France Regional Council, and Michel Cadot, Prefect of Police for Paris also participated.

Didier Kling, Chair of the Paris Île-de-France Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Christophe Cuvillier, CEO & Chair of the Management Board of Unibail-Rodamco, Michel Dessolain CEO of Viparis and Jean Pistre, co-founder of the Valode & Pistre architectural firm highlighted the many advantages of this exceptional venue. The Centre is located within the Porte de Versailles exhibition complex, which is undergoing a ten-year renovation project (2015–2025). It is the result of an extraordinary architectural effort, and was designed to host the very biggest international conferences. With Europe’s largest conference center, Paris will stay at the forefront of the business tourism market and retain its position as the world’s top destination for international conferences.

Paris Convention Center

The Convention Centre can accommodate very large national and international events. It is fully modular and its many amenities – including exhibition halls, meeting and conference rooms, permanent and mobile food stands, an event space, green roof and vast car park – means that it can be adapted to every imaginable situation. The airy and light-filled interior offers a view of the city. The plenary hall is the largest in Europe, and its glass roof means that conferences can be held in natural light. Every conference room is furnished with smart and adaptive speakers that offer high-quality sound and create an ideal acoustic environment for visitors. The Atrium conference rooms feature connected furniture and the latest audiovisual equipment.

“Paris Convention Centre will be a crown jewel in our efforts to boost the appeal of the region. The site has been renovated, reimagined and given a new identity to help the Greater Paris region at the top of the meetings and corporate events industry. This sector accounts for €5.5 billion in economic benefits for the region and more than €20 billion in turnover for exhibitors. With no public financing, Porte de Versailles will become the epicenter of the city’s ambitions in the field of conferences and trade shows,” said Didier Kling, Chair of the Paris Île-de-France Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Venues in Paris

Michel Dessolain, CEO of Viparis, explained: “We are especially proud to inaugurate Viparis’s newest venue, Paris Convention Centre. It is, quite simply, Europe’s largest conference centre. It is fitted with cutting-edge technology and its modularity means that it can fully customize any event. It also happens to be the only conference centre in the world with a breathtaking view of the Eiffel Tower. Paris, the top destination for conferences, will now be able to host the world’s largest gatherings.”

“Viparis is focused on introducing innovation and flexibility at our sites and bringing them into the digital age. We constantly strive to provide the best service per square meter. Our goal is to host 75 events at Paris Convention Centre over the next five years, including 55 conferences – 15 of which are already booked. This new venue will help bolster Paris’s influence and image on the world stage, and help the city retain its leading edge in the business tourism market.”

Info source: Paris Convention Centre, Viparis

Image source: e Turbo News


Paris Île-de-France ranks first in GDP among top level territories of France, and is positioned at the 6×1 slot within the G8x8. In 2014, it achieved a GDP of 649.6 billion EUR and a share of 30.4 percent of the national total. If compared with entire countries, the GDP of Paris Île-de-France ranks between Switzerland and the Netherlands.

Karnataka – Sichuan Cooperation

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the State of Karnataka, India, inaugurated the 6th China-India Forum on 10 November 2017 in Bengaluru. The meeting was jointly hosted by the Government of Karnataka, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), the China-India Friendship Association (CIFA), and Podar Enterprise. Semiconductor Alliance of China and Beijing Construction & Highway Development Group presented EoI letters to the Karnataka government. Forum slogan was “Innovation – Building Strong and Harmonious Future Together – Promoting Beautiful China & Wonderful India.”

Karnataka had signed a Sister-State-Province agreement with the Provincial Government of  Sichuan of the People’s Republic of China in May 2015, during the Forum of Leaders of the Regions of India and China in Beijing, and with participation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. At the China-India Forum 2017, however, other provinces of China were also invited. Podar Enterprise signed a strategic cooperation MoU with Hebei Provincial Government. Podar Advisory and Consulting Enterprise signed tri-party MoU of cooperation with Baoding City Government and Hebei Information Investment Group. Fortune Plus, China, signed MoU for setting up electric vehicle hub with Imperator Autocorp Pvt Ltd. Podar Holding International Pte Ltd signed MoU for cooperation in education with Yingcai University in Jinan, Shandong province.

All Chinese Investors Welcome

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah invited Chinese investors, saying the state is ready to receive them with open arms and promised the speedy implementation of projects. “India’s exports to China touched USD 8.86 billion, whereas China’s exports were USD 61.54 billion. I urge investors from China to invest in Karnataka,” he said at the inauguration of the 6th India-China Forum here.  India-China bilateral trade also had reached USD 70.4 billion in 2015, he added. “We will do everything possible to enable seamless conduct of business, with total transparency and with the assurance that your projects will be speedily implemented,” he said.

Karnataka government will continue to actively engage with China and explore all possible avenues to make them its valued partners in building of a strong and prosperous state, Siddaramaiah said. “It is just the beginning of identifying synergies in  technologies which would strengthen and deepen the foundation  of a Future-oriented Partnership between India and China and  Karnataka and China, evolving business ties, particularly in  defence, energy, infrastructure, agriculture and food processing, Information Technology and environment, to name a few,” he said.

Siddaramaiah said Karnataka’s Industrial Policy for 2014-19 was manufacturing centric with a vision is to make the state an innovative and hi-tech manufacturing hub of India. He said India and China’s relations had undergone an evolution in recent years developing along a positive track, into a friendly partnership. “It has made great strides in recent years and has become truly multi-dimensional, spurred by a significant convergence  of interests, mutual goodwill and high-level exchanges,” he  added.

Sources: The Deccan Chronicle, The Hindu BusinessLine

Image source: NDTV

Karnataka and Sichuan are both G8x8 territories. The former is ranking fourth in GDP among Indian states, placing it at the 7×4 position. Sichuan ranks sixth among Chinese provinces to take the 2×6 field on the board. In 2016, Karnataka took a share of 7.4% of the India total GDP. Sichuan posted a GDP share of 4.2 percent of the China national total.

Vocational Education Alliance

On 21 October 2017, organisations and enterprises of vocational education formally established a “Sino-German Alliance on Dual Vocational Education” in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu province. Different from already existing bilateral VET associations, the new alliance will, according to its Chinese name, focus on the cooperation between enterprises and schools, and thus focus on truly “dual” vocational education.

The alliance was founded at the “International Summit for Vocational Education”, which was part of Education Plus 2017, an exhibition organized by Messe Stuttgart Nanjing Ltd. During the constituting session, founding members adopted by-laws and unanimously elected their chairman, Simon Zhao. He is CEO of the National Center for Open  & Distance Education in Beijing.

Simon Zhao pointed out the significance of founding this alliance at this time, as China formulates new goals for its economic development. “At present, speeding up the development of modern vocational education is a major strategic plan that the country has made. The plan demands to shift gears in economic growth, and requires structural adjustments and the transformation of old into new kinetic energy. It is also an inevitable requirement of China to achieve the goal of becoming an innovation-oriented country and to strengthen its human resources.”

Linking the German “Industry 4.0” approach to the “Made in China 2025” objectives, he further explained the connotation of internationalization in vocational education and said, “We should strive to explore the road of international cooperation in running schools, focus on the needs of regional economic and social development, regard international standards, employ international teachers, apply international management, and so develop a highly competitive, highly skilled workforce.”

Mark Ma, Vice General Manager of Open Education, referred to a 2016 study which estimated the vocational education market volume of China at 600 billion RMB (about 78 billion Euro) and further growing.  “In this market, the new alliance aims at developing the cooperation of enterprises and schools in vocational education, supporting the implementation of the Sino-German vocational education strategy, and establishing a new and sustainable type of cooperation.”

The new alliance is a branch organisation of the “China External Cooperative Alliance of Vocational  Education” in Beijing.


The alliance aims to

  • Establish a benchmark of vocational education in China by localizing German curricula into the Chinese system.
  • Explore methods of developing vocational talents that are highly demanded by industry.
  • Research German philosophy of skills transfer in vocational education.
  • Apply the German quality assurance mechanism in China.
  • Set up a Qualification Assessment Center based on German qualification standards.
  • Train teachers by working closely with member enterprises and schools.
  • Develop a significant number of senior managers to apply German learning techniques in Chinese colleges.
  • Reduce the gap between vocational college graduates and industry needs.
  • Provide German employers in China with qualified workers.

For more details on the assocation, contact liw@mail.open.com.cn.

For more details on the exhibition Education Plus, see our related article.

Image source: National Center for Open and Distance Education (OPEN)

Jiangsu ranks second in GDP among Chinese provinces and takes position 2×2 on the G8x8 chess board. In 2015, the province produced 7,011.6 billion RMB worth of goods and services, contributing 9.7 percent to the total GDP of China. Depending on the exchange rate, this was almost as much as the GDP of Australia.