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Published: Friday, 11/16/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, on 4th trip to China, visits trade area near Hong Kong

His Chinese hosts accept a glass flower — made by northwest Ohio artist Larry Mack — from Toledo Mayor Mike Bell on Wednesday in Shenzhen, China. His Chinese hosts accept a glass flower — made by northwest Ohio artist Larry Mack — from Toledo Mayor Mike Bell on Wednesday in Shenzhen, China.

SHENZHEN, China — Toledo Mayor Mike Bell tried to sell hundreds of Chinese investors on Toledo at the China Hi-Tech Fair in Shenzhen on the second day of his trip to China.

The fair, which began Thursday night Toledo time and runs until Wednesday, includes 2,500 investors. “They knew that we are here and we are the only representatives from a U.S. city,” Mr. Bell said via telephone from China.

The mayor and about 20 local businessmen left Tuesday at 12:25 p.m. from Detroit and arrived in Hong Kong at 11 a.m. Toledo time the next day. The trip included a four-hour layover in Seoul.

Mr. Bell said his first full day in Shenzhen, a major commerce city near Hong Kong, was spent meeting with Chinese investors who had traveled to Toledo in September for the 5 Lakes Global Economic Forum coordinated by the Regional Growth Partnership and 5 Lakes Global Group Ltd., a consulting group headed by Simon Guo, a Chinese translator, deal broker, and Toledo-area resident who repeatedly has brought Chinese investors to the region.

Mr. Guo was among the team who introduced Mayor Bell to investors from China who ultimately purchased The Docks complex and land in the Marina District.

“I am hearing how impressed they were with Toledo, and some of them went to other, larger [U.S.] cities after Toledo and they preferred Toledo,” Mr. Bell said. “Once they got there, they found it more comfortable and from a business standpoint, they found it could be an asset with the railroads, the lake, and things like the museum.”

Toledo’s 5 Lakes Global Group will maintain a booth at the China Hi-Tech Fair while Mayor Bell and some of the delegates on the trip travel to other cities for meetings.

Mr. Bell’s spokesman, Jen Sorgenfrei, said the itinerary changed after they arrived.

The mayor heads next to Yangzhong, Zhenjiang, Pujiang, and Shanghai before flying back to the United States.

This trade mission to China is the mayor’s fourth.

Also on the trip from the city will be Dean Monske, president of the Regional Growth Partnership, and Paul Zito, the RGP’s vice president of international development. The city didn’t pay for their trips, Ms. Sorgenfrei said.

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