In early December, Invest Ottawa joined Premier Kathleen Wynne and a provincial business delegation on a five-day mission to China to meet with companies and explore opportunities for:
- R&D and business collaboration;
- Foreign direct investment (FDI); and
- Expansion in Ottawa and other regions across Ontario.
The delegation included Michael Tremblay, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards, Sophie Chen, Asia Pacific Market Director of Invest Ottawa, and several firms, investors and innovation-based organizations from the Nation’s Capital. These included: Celtic House Venture Partners, GCI Ventures Ltd., the Centre of Excellence in Next Generation Networks (CENGN), Spartan Bioscience, and iNano Medical Inc.
Delegates met with industry and government officials across China; promoted Ottawa’s knowledge-based economy, sector strengths and technology expertise; and explored business opportunities of mutual interest. The mission also provided an opportunity to follow-up on discussions and actions undertaken by previous delegations to China. With the help of high speed rails, red-eye flights, and full daily agendas that started well before sunrise and concluded well after sunset, Ottawa delegates met with 35 companies in five major metropolitan cities over seven days. Please find highlights and initial outcomes of the mission below:
Day One: The delegation met with the Shanghai Industrial Investment Group to help build an investment and innovation bridge with Ontario, and explore potential partnership and investment opportunities with regions across the province.
Day Two: The delegation witnessed the signing ceremony of Celtic House and GCI Ventures at the Ontario Forum in Nanjing, Jiangsu. The details of this two-way deal included a $10 million joint fund and a new office.
Day Three: Invest Ottawa joined Celtic House and GCI Ventures for the opening of their new office in Hangzhou. This location will provide Celtic House clients with excellent opportunities to explore further product development in China, and pursue new clients in this major global market. Following the launch, Invest Ottawa had the privilege of visiting the headquarters of Alibaba, one of China’s largest IT/e-Business companies. The team met with leaders in Hangzhou to promote Ottawa as an ideal location for business expansion.
Day Four: Baidu Apollo, China’s leading Autonomous Vehicle (AV) developer, welcomed the delegation to their Beijing headquarters for an impressive demonstration of their AV solutions, and a tour of their facilities. Following a presentation on Ottawa’s AV cluster, and an in-depth overview of related industry, academic and innovation AV strengths, assets and projects, Michael Tremblay invited the Baidu team to visit Canada’s Capital Region to experience our AV ecosystem directly. Day four concluded with a warm welcome from ZDG and ZVCA, Invest Ottawa partners in Beijing, Ottawa’s ‘sister city’, and an excellent discussion with iSoftsone, a leading smart city solution provider, to explore opportunities for potential collaboration.
Day 5: The mission concluded with a visit to Huawei, a leading global information and communication technology solutions provider, headquartered in Shenzhen, China. Huawei announced a new 5G research partnership with Carleton University, plans to expand its Kanata-based Canada Research Centre, and its membership in CENGN. The new partnership with CENGN will provide an opportunity for Huawei and its’ operator partners in Canada to work with Canadian SMEs and start-ups on opportunities and issues related to the deployment of 5G, while leveraging the research team at Huawei’s Canada Research Centre.
Although the delegation has now returned home to Canada, the prospect for future collaboration between Ottawa innovators and China has just begun:
- iNano Medical, an Invest Ottawa client, signed a $6 million agreement with China’s Medihealth Limited for iNano to provide vitro diagnostic device technology used in the diagnosis of colorectal cancer.
- Spartan BioScience, an Invest Ottawa client, signed a deal with a leading manufacturing company in China that secures the growth and development of their product.
- Invest Ottawa members met with 35 China-based companies, including tier-one technology players such as Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Huawei, which resulted dozens of new executive business contacts.
Invest Ottawa looks forward to leveraging our initial engagement with these Fortune 500 companies to help local firms expand into Chinese markets, establish meaningful R&D and business connections, and secure new investment that catalyzes commercial success.
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