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Kennesaw State Hosts Symposium On Asia-US Partnership

L to R: Dean Vengroff; Dr. Nina Morgan, Dr May Gao, Viren Mayani and Patrick Santillo.


The W Hotel in Midtown Atlanta was a flurry of activity this April 8, courtesy the Symposium on Asia-USA Partnership Opportunities (SAUPO) organized by Kennesaw State University’s (KSU) Asian Studies Program. The interdisciplinary conference aims to provide a global platform of five-way dialogue among diplomats, policymakers, corporate managers, non-profit practitioners and scholars highlighting partnership opportunities between the United States and Asian countries, specifically China, India, Japan and Korea.

Performance by the KSU String Quartet, was followed with opening remarks by Dr. May Gao, Chair, SAUPO planning committee, Dr. Richard Vengroff, Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, KSU and Dr. Ashok Roy, Asst VP of Financial Services, KSU. "There is a fundamental shift occurring in the world economy. Distance is shrinking and cultures are starting to look alike due to technology" Dr. Roy noted.

A panel discussion on Asian investments in U.S. featuring Alex Gregory (Japan), President and CEO, YKK Corporation, Sandeep Dadlani (India), VP, Infosys Technologies, Tae In Kim (Korea), President, Kyosung Motors America, and Henry Yu (China), President, Shanghai Bosun Capital Advisors each representing different countries kicked off the morning proceedings. 

"Dr. Roy mentioned that centers of gravity are shifting to Asia, but I'm talking about the reverse." Sandeep said saying Infosys could no longer be characterized as an Indian company, rather an American brand working with local employees, investors, supporting causes such as Clinton Global Initiative, offering global internships, and working in all fields providing jobs, education, research, innovation and sustainability. Emphasizing Globalization, speaker Alex added that YKK, a Japanese group operated in 121 countries exporting 70% to Mexico. Tae In Kim was also in agreement talking about the acquisition of Hyosung Motors by S&T Motors wherein a Korean product was successfully marketed to America by building a brand name through trustworthy practices and reliability of products. Henry Yu pointed out some of the challenges such as complex legal systems, investment sensitive industries, reporting and licensing, regulations, zoning, antitrust, litigation, arbitration, to name a few. He also pointed out that there was a growing trend of cross equity holding between USA and China, adding that by 2013 more than 20% of global trade will be dominated by CNY/RMB.

Panel discussion on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Asia included Dr.Roy as the Moderator with speakers Dr. John Endicott, President, Woosing University(Korea), Roger Neuenschwander, President, tvsdesign, Xianqin Wallace, UPS Corporate Marketing Manager, Jorge Fernandez, VP, Global Commerce, Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. 

FDI, a measure of foreign ownership of productive assets, such as factories, mines and land plays an important role in Asian countries, Dr. Roy noted. "80% of our students are from Asia" John Endicott said speaking of his University in Korea that serves as an English language business college with enrollments from 36 nations. "World economy is no longer US centric" said Roger Neuenschwander, whose tvsdesign has gone global. To any audience that would be interested in pursuing FDIs, expert opinions came in plenty. "Logic works differently in China" Wallace explained urging to do the homework and keeping an open mind while being prepared for surprises. "If it is not the right market for you, exit, despite all the hype" she added. Jorge Fernandez stated that FDI into US was growing fastest from Asian investors adding that 31% of the global FDI goes to Asia, with China and India being top recipients.

With Focus on Economic Outlook of Asia had Dr. Ilan Alon, Cornell Chair of International Business & Director, The China Center at Rollins College, Visiting Scholar & Asia fellow at Harvard University as the moderator and Vikram Das, Audit services, Grant Thornton as respondent. Speaking of "Indian Economy and its contribution to the world", C.N. Madhusudan, Founder and CEO, Vectorspan, Inc noted that the Indian banking and Railway systems were the largest in the world. With years of economic boom, domestic growth, IPO market, self-confidence, global ambition, scale, size and strength wise Indians are global players" he said. Ani Agnihotri, President & CEO, IIIrd Millennium Technologies; Chair, USA India Business Summit, speaking of the "Economic Outlook of India" added that other than technologies, India was also gaining ground in areas such as steel, power, life insurance, mobile subscriptions, food and beverage, education, waste management, medical equipment, clean air and security analysis. He added that government's NEI program offered healthy prospects. Dr. Yejing Huang, Institute of world economy, Shanghai Academy of Social sciences talked about understanding export advantage of advanced service industry in china with a case study of the software industry. 

Panelists for the "Asia-USA Partership strategies included Yonni Kim, Arnall Golden Gregory, LLP, Yoshi Domoto, Executive Director, Japan American Society of Georgia, Dr. Chang-Hee Choi, President, Cyprus investments & VP, Superior Essex, a LS Wire company (Korea), Guanming Fang, Attorney, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC. 

"Integration is one of the most critical factor that determines the success of M&A" Dr. Chang-Hee Choi said talking about the growth of LS Cable & System in the U.S. Yoshi Domoto pointed out that 380 plus Japanese companies operated in Georgia alone, with Japan ranking number one in national investments in Georgia and number three in the U.S. Yonni Kim offered interesting insights into the Korean culture, such as respecting the rank, age which continues to thrive in business. She also talked about being cognizant of some legal issues. Guanming Fang noted the centralized system in China versus federalist system in the US. 

Afternoon sessions discussed ideas to attract Asian investment to the USA, market in foreign cultures, intercultural competencies, and educate next generation Americans on Asia featuring William L. Strang, Senior VP of Operations, TOTO USA, Kanchana Raman, President & CEO (Founder) of Avion Systems, Jay Eun, President of Korean-American Association of Georgia, President of Golden Stella, Inc, Dr. Penelope B. Prime, Professor of Economics, Mercer University, amongst others.

The concluding session "Over the top: Emerging Markets' Impact on U.S. Economy" was moderated by Dr. Wesley Johnston, Prof of Marketing & Executive director of Center for business and Industrial Marketing, GSU with panelists Dr. Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing, Goizueta Business School of Emory University; Director of the India, China, America Institute, and Dr. Ilan Alon. Dr. Sheth opined that while Asia will rise for at least 30 to 40 years, then it would be Africa's turn urging to develop to pro Asia mindset. Speaking about the China Challenge, Dr. Ilan Alon, impressed that the focus should be on quality (of life for all citizens) rather than quantity ( growing GDPs). He noted that good governance was required in both India and China, adding "The future is uncertain".

Viren Mayani, Asian American Heritage Foundation; Commensurate Consulting, LLC introduced Keynote speaker of the conference, Patrick Santillo, Regional Director, Asia/Pacific, U.S. Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce. "Asia is the future, and our future with Asia is the future" the Keynote speaker stated. He talked about the National Export Initiative which promotes US exports, urging educators to educate people to invest in Asia. 

“SAUPO brought together corporate and academics in a wonderful networking environment. It fostered learning on both sides regarding the possibilities and challenges that exist, as USA and ASIA foster partnerships today and in the near future. Learning about the needs of these relationships and areas for research, were the primary focus for academicians who help prepare the workforce of tomorrow. Corporations on the other hand had a chance to listen to research and theories that were being debated by several leading academic professionals regarding opportunities in both USA and Asia." said Rifka Mayani, Vice-Chair SAUPO Planning Committee. The conference concluded with the cocktail hour for social networking. The lunch hour also provided opportunities for people to connect. 

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