Chinese E-Commerce Firms Visit Greater Seattle

March 9th, 2015

Ms. Xu Zhen (Freddie) from the USDA Agricultural Trade Office in Shanghai speaks to the audience at the offices of the Seattle Metro Chamber

The WSCRC, with support from the Trade Alliance, welcomed a delegation of e-commerce firms from China last week and organized both a seminar and matchmaking meetings with local companies.


Seattle real estate looking towards India for investment

March 4th, 2015

By Evan Philip, March 3, 2015

As India’s economy and GDP continue to grow exponentially, real estate companies in the Greater Seattle area have begun to focus on Indian investors to further home sales.  According to a report by the Puget Sound Business Journal, 7% of existing U.S. home sales is attributed to foreign buyers. Of this portion, 6% of those buyers are from India, representing $5.8 billion in home sales from April 2013 to March 2014. This is an increase of $1.9 billion from the same period the year before, demonstrating the large potential profit in the years to come.

In the past, China has been one of the main focuses of real estate companies for investment from international sources. However, with the changing international demographics in the region, real estate companies are shifting their focus towards potential Indian buyers. Typically when Indians immigrate to the U.S., they look for property in areas that already have well-established Indian-American communities. In the Puget Sound region, Indian home buyers look towards Bellevue for potential properties. The U.S. Census reported that in 2010 more than 7% of Bellevue’s population was comprised of people from India.

The International Monetary Fund reports that India is currently the 11th largest economy in the world, and is the 3rd largest by purchasing power parity. It is also the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.2 billion people. Additionally, the Migration Policy Institute reports that there were over 1.9 million Indian immigrants living in the U.S. in 2011, the third largest immigrant group by country of origin. With such high levels of immigration and economic growth, real estate companies should not be the only ones looking to India for future investment and business!


TDA Hosts Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security

March 2nd, 2015

From left to right: Mr. Sam Kaplan, President, Trade Development Alliance; Ambassador Gary Locke; The Honorable Eric Hirschhorn, Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security; Mr. Nelson Dong, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney 

The Trade Alliance organized a program at the offices of Dorsey & Whitney with the Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, The Honorable Eric Hirschhorn, to discuss President Obama’s Export Control Reform Initiative. Ambassador Gary Locke also provided welcoming remarks. The program was sold-out with over 40 people in attendance.


Shenzhen Symphony to perform at Benaroya Hall

February 25th, 2015

By Vanessa Kimanga, February 25, 2015

On February 25th the Shenzhen symphony in collaboration with the Seattle Symphony and Stanford University, will perform at Benaroya Hall to celebrate the Lunar Chinese New Year.

The concert will have renowned pianist Yin Chengzong, Chinese pipa artist Zhao Cong and conductor Jindong Cai.

Austin Huang, producer of the Chinese new year concert and  president of the Pacific Northwest Cultural Exchange Council, named Yin Chengzong as one of the main attractions. Yin began learning piano at 7 years old and studied piano at Shanghai Conservatory of Music. Although trained as a classical pianist, he is best known for the Yellow River Concerto which he prepared and performed.

Cai is a director for the Gretchen B Kimball of Orchestral studies from Stanford, assistant conductor for Cincinnati Symphony and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. He has worked closely with conductors Jsus Lpez-Cobos, Erich Kunzel and Keith Lockhart.

Zhao Cong plays the Chinese pipa, a four stringed instrument referred to as the Chinese lute. Zhao was recruited as a pipa soloist for the central orchestra for Chinese music in Beijing; she has then toured over 20 countries performing for over dozen heads of states.

The concert holds strong cultural significance – western orchestras travel around China but this is the first time a symphony from China will perform in Seattle. This gives American audiences a unique combination of classical music and Chinese artistic traditions, and gain a better understanding of China’s current social, economic and cultural development.

“I am confident the concert will be a success because Western-style symphonies have played Chinese symphonic music in Seattle before, and it was well received,” Huang said.

The orchestra will have about 90 people, making it a full orchestra with brass, percussion, woodwind and string. The symphony will also perform at Stanford University in Palo Alto, San Jose and San Diego.

The Seattle Symphony will be able to return the favor next year. In June 2016, the Seattle Symphony will embark on its first-ever Asia tour, with appearances in Beijing, Shanghai, and Seoul.


TDA & WCIT organize joint program

February 23rd, 2015

TDA & WCIT organized a program last Tuesday on increasing U.S. access for international tourists, students, and workers. Shown above, the President of WCIT, Mr. Eric Schinfeld, introduces the panelists.


UK Elections: Potential Impact on the Economy, EU and Washington State Business

February 23rd, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
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Facebook Seattle expands to accommodate 2,000 more employees

February 19th, 2015

By Evan Philip, February 19, 2015

Social media giant Facebook will be expanding its Seattle offices to a soon-to-be-completed office building on Dexter Avenue in early 2016. Facebook has outgrown their current office space, which accommodates more than 500 employees and occupies 96,000 square feet in the Metropolitan Park East tower. This expansion to Dexter Station will increase the company’s work space to 274,000 square feet, with the option to lease an additional 62,000 square feet. The move will allow Facebook to hire an additional 2,000 workers to its already rapidly growing Seattle operations.

The expansion of one of the largest Facebook offices outside of their Menlo Park, California headquarters is a testament to the company’s investment and commitment to the Seattle region and the talent that it provides. Additionally, the Seattle offices are already the largest engineering office outside of the company’s headquarters. As Facebook has continued to expand rapidly around the world, Seattle has become a key location to aid the company in their expansion and development. Facebook is just one of several Silicon Valley tech companies that have turned to the Greater Seattle region for tech and engineering support to expand their operations.

Since the company’s launch in February of 2004, the number of users has grown exponentially. According to the company’s website, Facebook was used every day by over 890 million active users throughout the world in December 2014. The social media site is also used monthly by over 1.39 billion active users according to the same statistics. The company reports that “approximately 82.4%” of daily active use now originates from outside the US and Canada. The presence of a truly international company in the Greater Seattle region should be viewed as evidence of the technological abilities of Seattleites in contributing to the expansion of global companies.


Investment Opportunities in Brazil

February 19th, 2015

Investment Opportunities in Brazil

We have the perfect opportunity for American companies that are interested in having access to or furthering their reach in the Brazilian and South American markets. Brazil is looking to attract American companies from the Aerospace, Life Sciences, and Information Technology sectors to invest in the State of Minas Gerais. There are numerous financial incentives for establishing a presence in Minas Gerais, including:

•    Attractive tax incentives, progressive with the company’s impact in the region.
•    Access to subsidized credit lines from the Minas Gerais State Development Bank.
•    FIEMG assistance in getting all regulatory and operational licenses in Brazil.

Minas Gerais is located in the Southwest region of Brazil, the richest and most economically developed area of the country. The capital Belo Horizonte is home to 5.1 million inhabitants, serving as the 3rd major Brazilian city for urban agglomeration. The state is in close proximity to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, the two largest cities and markets in Brazil. The cost of skilled labor in aerospace and biotechnology averages 60% of the cost of labor in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.  The universities and technical colleges are consistently ranked amongst the best in Brazil including the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), one of the top three most renowned colleges in Brazil. These universities and colleges produce a large talent pool of skilled laborers.

The local economy is rapidly developing and there has been a rising interest and establishment of aerospace companies in the region. The state hosts a research center for Embraer -the third largest aviation manufacturer in the world – and the headquarters of Helibras, the main helicopter producer in South America. Additionally, there are 42 aerospace companies located in Minas Gerais which heavily recruit from the 45 private and two public universities in the region.  Minas Gerais is home to the first Industrial Airport of Brazil which operates through a system of customized taxes, including the suspension of federal state and municipal taxes. As a result of these economic advantages, the surrounding area is set to become Brazil’s first aerotropolis (Airport City); a planned city with excellent transport and headquarters to a wide range of companies from varying sectors. It will be home to a community of producers of goods and services based on integration, global supply, and increased competitiveness.

In addition to the burgeoning aerospace industry presence, biotechnology and information technology companies have been moving to area in recent years. Google’s Latin American Research Center is located in Belo Horizonte and several pharmaceutical companies have moved their clinical trials to the state due to the lower costs and availability of skilled labor.

FIEMG (Federation of Industries of Minas Gerais), one of the largest business associations in Brazil has partnered with The Information Company, a Seattle and Belo Horizonte based company in order to find potential companies. A delegation from FIEMG will be traveling to the Pacific Northwest in the next few months to hold meetings with interested prospects and answer any questions regarding business in Minas Gerais.

If you are interested in finding out how your company could benefit from being based in Minas Gerais. Please contact:

Pedro Costa: [email protected]

Marcelo Chinellato: [email protected]


Life Sciences in the Greater Seattle Region

February 19th, 2015

Life Sciences in the Greater Seattle Region

by Evan Philip

The Greater Seattle region is one of the five largest life sciences clusters in the country and is the fifth largest industry sector in Washington State. More than 500 biopharma, medical technology and research organizations are based in Washington, with 74 cities in the state hosting life science organizations. The life sciences industry in our state has contributed approximately $7.1 billion to personal income and $11.4 billion to the state’s GDP. As of 2014, this industry supplied more than 34,200 direct jobs to Washington workers, with an average salary that is $30,000 more than other sectors (WBBA 2014 Annual Report). With such a significant impact on our state’s success, this industry will be the one to watch in the coming years.

Why we are unique

The Greater Seattle area boasts one of the largest concentrations of life sciences companies in the United States. The region has been particularly successful with its research and development efforts in the industry and distinguished worldwide as a place dedicated to furthering knowledge in life sciences. Some of the world’s best research institutions call the Seattle area home, such as the University of Washington, Washington State University, and the innovative Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch). The groundbreaking work that is produced by these institutions continuously proves our region’s worth in the industry. In 2008, Dr. Cassain Yee of Fred Hutch discovered that “that he could use a patient’s own infection-fighting T-cells to put advanced melanoma into long-term remission” (Fred Hutch). It is this sort of research and discovery that has placed the Greater Seattle area on the map as a prominent life sciences industry.

The main hubs

South Lake Union has recently undergone extensive redevelopment to transform the community into a center for biotechnology and research, which has begun to attract worldwide attention. In the next year, the South Lake Union hub will see the addition of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the expansion of Novo Nordisk, which will produce jobs for hundreds more biotech workers. Most recently, BioMed Realty, our city’s first global health organization, began the process of acquiring a new building in South Lake Union for $90 million (CNBC). Bothell, another hub in our region, is home to the world’s largest dedicated independent contract manufacturer of biologic, CMC Biologics. CMC recently signed a deal that will double the capacity of their operations in the city. This magnitude of investment within our region demonstrates the prominence and profitability of our local life sciences industry.

Top companies

Philips, a Dutch diversified technology company headquartered in Amsterdam, is the second largest producer of ultrasound equipment globally and the sole producer of all the ultrasound systems within Washington State. Their Bothell location, which directly employs approximately 2,000 people, has made significant contributions to the development of the life sciences industry, such as their new generation of ultrasound equipment. The Bothell branch of this global healthcare giant also produces automated external defibrillator equipment, cardiac care equipment, and oral healthcare products. Another distinguished company in our region is Seattle Genetics, which is the industry leader in “antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), a technology designed to harness the targeting ability of monoclonal antibodies to deliver cell-killing agents directly to cancer cells” (Seattle Genetics). The work that Seattle Genetics has done with ADC technology has influenced other collaborators in the field, with 25 different ADCs in development using the exclusive approach that Seattle Genetics developed. It is revolutionary companies like these two that drive a massive amount of funding into the life sciences sector.

In 2014, over $906 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to Washington was awarded to 65 companies within the state (National Institutes of Health). The University of Washington was the recipient of 938 NIH awards of more than $437 million (National Institutes of Health), which is more than 48% of the total funding received by the state!

Learn More

To learn more about our region’s life sciences industry, sign-up for the Life Science Innovation Northwest Conference taking place this June 30 & July 1st, 2015.


President’s Report February 2015

February 19th, 2015

President’s Report

by Sam Kaplan

I write this from the frozen tundra of Indianapolis where we are participating in the Brookings/JPMorgan Chase export planning process of the Global Cities Initiative (more on this next month). As we flew into the snow storm that seems to be covering everywhere east of the Mississippi, I was reminded of how important it is to target where and when you travel.

The Trade Alliance works with countries around the world.  Just as Greater Seattle’s companies and organization’s seek out markets in every continent, so too does your Trade Development Alliance work to connect and promote our region in Asia, Europe, Africa, South America and beyond. But, it is also true we are a small (though mighty) staff. And while we do and will react to opportunities from around the globe, we also try to be strategic and proactive with our resources.

It is for that reason that our Board approved a set of target markets last year. The targets were approved after an extensive process that included data analysis by the staff under the guidance of a special subcommittee of the board.  We looked at country economic data but also at where the largest export markets are for our region’s top industry sectors and where around the globe the strongest clusters for these sectors are. We also examined where TDA could have the most beneficial effect and where we had organizations and individuals with whom we could partner.

When all was said and done, the TDA board approved ten target markets to focus on and be proactive in over the next 3 years.  These include seven markets that marry geographic locations with industry sectors as well as three targets in which we will try to brand our region. Of the former, an example is life science in Beijing and Shanghai or information and communications technology in Hyderabad and Bangalore.  In each of these geographies there are also secondary sectors to target, such as life sciences in Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The branding target markets are three urban regions from three different continents: London, Shenzhen and Sao Paulo.  In each of these world class business regions we are going to make sure they understand Greater Seattle and its assets.

Over the last few months, TDA staff have been meeting with potential partners and experts in these industries and international markets to develop a 3-year work plan for each of the target markets.  For example, we’ve had multiple meetings with Jack Cowan, the honorary French Consul and head of the French Chamber of Commerce in our region. We’ve met with the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association, the Washington Israeli Business Council, companies in the key sectors and more.

These work plans will provide a variety of actions that TDA will take over the next three years to move the needle on these ten targets. They will be a tool for TDA to continually be proactive globally and to measure our effectiveness.

If you want to learn more about our target markets in general or about any of the specific work plans, please reach out to Tamara Thorhallsson at [email protected].



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