Strengthening institutional, political and economic ties between Montréal and Chinese cities
Montréal, November 6, 2015 – The Mayor of Montréal and Chairman of the Montréal Metropolitan Community, the Honourable Denis Coderre, draws a very positive balance of his seven-day trade and political mission to China.
This mission, which was made up of the largest delegation of business people ever brought together by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal in support of a mission led by the Mayor of Montréal, was an opportunity for stakeholders to strengthen institutional, political and economic ties with the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, as well as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and resulted in the signing of more than 10 commercial and academic agreements.
“My main role in China was to act as a facilitator for Montréal enterprises wishing to establish a first business contact with their Chinese counterparts, or sign major agreements to benefit Montréal. More than ever, China wishes to invest abroad, and investors said that they see a wind of change in Montréal for investment,” said Mayor Coderre.
“The presence of the Mayor of Montréal, Mr. Denis Coderre, on this particularly intense trade mission was very valuable. The results are promising, and beyond the many signed agreements, what stands out is that several enterprises were confident in developing their Chinese strategy. Now, the key to success will be to continue efforts and regular contacts. Once again, this is where a direct air link between Montréal and Beijing is particularly important,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
The Mayor of Montréal took advantage of his mission to China to meet with his counterparts from five major Chinese cities and to strengthen economic and friendship ties with two of them by signing cooperation agreements.
Beijing, which is the capital of the People’s Republic of China, was the first stop on the Mayor’s mission, who took advantage of the new direct non-stop flight between the two cities to meet Mayor Wang Anshun. Beijing has a population of 21 million people and is considered as China’s political and cultural centre. Beijing was the host city of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games and will hold the Winter Olympic Games in 2022. It will become the first city to host the two editions of this international sports event.
Focusing on their common Olympic experiences, the two mayors agreed to collaborate in organizing the 2022 Games, and to share Montréal’s expertise as a winter city.
Mayor Coderre announced that Montréal will join the World Tourism Cities Federation, a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in Beijing in 2012. The Federation’s mission is to promote tourist cities and encourage exchange between those cities.
Shanghai: Consolidation of the twinning agreement with Montréal
Shanghai is the most populated city in China and one of the largest mega cities of the world with more that 23.5 million inhabitants. It is also one of Asia’s largest financial centres.
Montréal has been Shanghai’s twin city since 1985, and to mark the 30th anniversary of this friendship, the Mayor of Montréal together with his counterpart from Shanghai, Mayor Yang Xiong, renewed the twinning agreement. This agreement broadens the areas of cooperation between the two cities in various areas of activity. The two mayors also agreed to join efforts to promote the creation of a new direct air link between Montréal and Shanghai.
The Mayor of Montréal took advantage of his visit to Shanghai to promote Montréal, a city of investment, at a gala dinner held by the Canada China Business Council, at which he was the guest of honour. He took part in a panel discussion on Canada-China relations, along with the former Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien.
In Shanghai, Mayor Coderre also met with leaders of the investment firm Fosun, together with Mr. Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil. Mr. Lamarre confirmed that Cirque du Soleil will present new shows in China, including a permanent show, resulting in the creation of approximately 30 jobs in Montréal.
Mayor Coderre visited the campus of the Shanghai Normal University to highlight the inauguration of a protocol agreement between the Shanghai Normal University and Université du Québec à Montréal, in the presence of the Rector of the university, Mr. Robert Proulx. As part of a meeting with the President of the Shanghai Normal University, Mr. Zhu Ziqiang, Mayor Coderre supported the idea brought forward by the Université du Québec à Montréal to create a Montréal House in Shanghai, as a means to promote student exchanges. Mayor Coderre suggested, however, that the Montréal House be an academic and a commercial endeavour, and that Shanghai create a Shanghai House in Montréal. The President of the Shanghai Normal University made a point to honour the Mayor of Montréal by awarding him the title of Honourary Professor of the Shanghai Normal University.
Shenzhen: Honourary city of the Montréal High Lights Festival
Located on the edge of Hong Kong, the City of Shenzhen is home to 10 million inhabitants. It is experiencing spectacular economic and demographic growth and is one of the richest cities in China.
The meeting with the Mayor of Shenzhen, Mr. Xu Qin, resulted in the signing of a cooperation agreement involving innovation, transportation and sustainable development. Mayor Coderre mentioned the project to create a direct air link between the two cities. Mayor XU proved open to examine this possibility.
Note that the President and Managing Director of L’Équipe Spectra, Jacques-André Dupont, who accompanied Mayor Coderre, formalized the agreement making Shenzhen the city to be honoured at the 2016 Montreal High Lights Festival.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: Game Hollywood in Montréal
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which has a population of approximately 7 million inhabitants, is China’s wealthiest city. Its economy is one of the most liberal in the world. Hong Kong is home to the largest Canadian community in Asia.
In Hong Kong, Montréal International and the founding partners of Contact MTL officially launched the Asian chapter of Contact MTL, which is a network of individuals who are committed, as volunteers, to promoting the metropolis of Québec throughout the world. Approximately 20 flagship establishments and institutions of the Greater Montréal area, which have complementary missions, expertise and networks, participate in this federating movement to strengthen Greater Montréal’s positioning as an economic, technological, cultural and knowledge-based city.
Game Hollywood, a world leader in the publishing and marketing of video games, announced that it will establish a branch, Proficient City Limited, in the Greater Montréal area. The announcement was made in the presence of Mayor Coderre by Mr. Xitou Lee, Game Hollywood’s co-founder and head of operations. The Chinese company, which currently employs more than 250 people in six countries, has several worldwide successful games, including Wartune, which already has more than 10 million users.
“Chinese enterprises wish to invest in several fields of activity, including the video game industry, information technologies, clean technologies, life sciences and real estate. They also wish to focus more on the Greater Montréal area’s potential for innovation and creativity, by developing strong ties of cooperation with universities, institutions and enterprises. We must continue to highlight the strengths and distinct benefits of the Greater Montréal area on the international scene, to ensure strong economic ties on this huge market,” said Mr. Louis Arseneault, Vice-President – Talent Attraction, Promotion and Communications, at Montréal International. “Game Hollywood’s decision to invest in the metropolis of Québec greatly contributes to the Greater Montréal’s reputation on the international scene and consolidates its position as a welcoming business centre with Chinese investors. Mayor Coderre’s support helped us prove the region’s commitment to achieving successful conditions to attract new subsidiaries,” added Arseneault.
After signing this agreement, the Mayor delivered an important speech before the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong on the topic of metropolises of the 21st century. He emphasized that the world of today defines itself by cities, and because of this, they must show leadership, especially in the field of climate change. The Mayor emphasized the importance for cities to stand united and to attend COP 21. He also explained his action on matters of Living Together and the creation of the international mayors’ observatory on Living Together.
The Mayor met with the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr. Leung Chun-Yin, at his residence. Together, they discussed the importance for cities to become leaders and to rise to new challenges, including climate change, urban planning and economic and social development. The two men agreed to pursue exchanges, especially in the field of trade.
Montréal and Guangzhou, together for Metropolis
Mayor Coderre visited Guangzhou, the last stop of his mission to China where he met with Mayor Chen Jianhua. The City of Guangzhou, just like Montréal, is one of the co-presiding bodies of Metropolis. Mr. Coderre and Mr. Chen said they were ready to become involved in this important network of large cities, to increase influence on the international scene, especially in terms of climate change.
Mayor Chen announced his intention to soon send a trade delegation from Guangzhou to Montréal. A large percentage of the Chinese people who immigrated to Montréal and worked on Chinatown come from the Province of Guangdong, whose capital is Guangzhou.
“With an urban agglomeration of 4 million people, Montréal seems a very small city in comparison with large Chinese cities. However, it is not the size of a city that matters but rather its potential as an innovative and creative city. In this area, Montréal has proven itself in the fields of design, the performing arts, video game production and green technology, to name a few. I think that our Chinese friends recognize the many talents of Montréal,” added Mayor Coderre.