Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Politics & Govt
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Published on April 10, 2024
San Francisco Mayor London Breed Embarks on China Trip to Fortify Investments and Cultural TiesSource: Google Street View

San Francisco Mayor London Breed is set to jet off to China in an effort to tighten economic bonds and strengthen cultural relations. According to an announcement on the city's official website, Mayor Breed will be joining forces with a delegation of API business and community leaders from San Francisco, venturing through multiple cities including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Shanghai. Her agenda is filled with meetings aimed to tempt Chinese businesses to invest in San Francisco's future, specifically its downtown and versatile neighborhoods like Chinatown and Visitacion Valley.

The trip, scheduled to span from Saturday until April 21, commemorates the 45th anniversary of the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City relationship and follows an invitation from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., Xie Feng. Mayor Breed stated, "I am honored to be invited to travel to China and meet with leaders in business, innovation, and government to cultivate economic opportunities and strengthen ties between San Francisco and cities across the region." The visit appears to align seamlessly with Breed's 'Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future', an ambitious plan that aims to add 30,000 more residents and students to San Francisco's Downtown by 2030.

San Francisco is also looking to revive its tourism industry, which has traditionally drawn substantial numbers from China. Scott Beck, President and CEO of San Francisco Travel, highlighted the importance of this trip to China, stating on, "A critical part of rebuilding visitation from China is building back air service to the San Francisco International Airport, and bolstering connections with travel and aviation partners is key to attracting Chinese visitors to San Francisco." In 2023, China climbed back to being the top international market for visitor spending in San Francisco with a notable $633.4 million contribution to the local economy.

The mayor's delegation is not merely ornamental but packed with influential San Francisco-based entrepreneurs and API community leaders, set to actively forge partnerships with their counterparts in China. An aspect of the visit includes meetings with educational leaders like those at Fudan University, showing the City's commitment to not only engage in commercial exchanges but also to enrich educational ties. "We are dedicated to making SFO the premier US gateway from China," SFO Airport Director Ivar C. Satero said, signaling the importance of face-to-face interactions in restoring and expanding air service with China. The Mayor's various meetings with airline executives testify to these efforts.

The trip is funded by the San Francisco Special Events Committee, a nonprofit that supports events of civic and cultural significance.