Monday, February 16, 2009

Doing Business in China: Toronto

I've just returned from a visit to Toronto--my fourth trip to Canada in six months! The fun began as soon as I boarded the Porter Airlines propellor flight from Newark Airport direct to the City Center airport, which is appropriately named. The VIP treatment for even economy passengers included being wined and dined during the flight--at no extra charge. At the airport, it was a two-minute ferry ride to the main land, then a hop to my hotel. A change of clothes and I was off to my first appointment, at law firm Gowlings, where I gave a presentation about my book, Silicon Dragon, for the many China-interested partners and their clients. See left photo: Gowlings partners Martin Cauchon, Catherine Pawluch.
Next up was an elegant dinner at a private dining room of a local restaurant, Kultura, hosted by Craig Brown and his law firm Fasken Martineau. The conversation centered on tales of China experiences by the well-traveled group of finance executives.
The next morning, I was up by 6:30AM to get ready to speak at the University of Toronto-Rotman School of Management. By 8AM, the lecture room was full and we had a lively Q&A with students, professors, government officials, bankers, and investors. I autographed plenty of books before my next stop -- to meet the mayor of Waterloo, Brenda Halloran. Waterloo is famous for being the home of Research in Motion (Blackberry). The mayor is a China advocate and would really like to see her community do more business there. (See mayor to the far right in photo above).
A Chinese lunch followed by a stop to meet with representatives at the local chamber of commerce, and we were off to the University of Waterloo and its school for business, entrepreneurship and technology. I kept my talk to 10 minutes to have time to show my videos with Chinese entrepeneurs who are profiled in my book. I was impressed with the calibre of the students and their desire to be tech entrepreneurs themselves!
I'd like to thank the Canada China Business Council, director Sarah Kutulakos, and her team (Tony Gostling, among them), for arranging this whirlwind Toronoto stop on my book tour. Sarah is with me in the photograph with the mayor. Tony is in the photo at Gowlings. Thanks too to my hosts Fasken Martineau and Gowlings, and the universities for showing their support.
I hope to return sometime soon. I must say that Canada is very pro-active when it comes to China!