Interview: San Francisco Bay Area eyes more cooperation in southern China

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-29 17:18:52|Editor: Yamei
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SAN FRANCISCO, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The Bay Area Council (BAC) in San Francisco in the western U.S. state of California is to strengthen cooperation with China's Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and is mulling over opening a new office there, BAC President and CEO Jim Wunderman said.

Wunderman told Xinhua in an interview Wednesday that he welcomes China's Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Initiative, and is willing to build closer ties with the related Chinese cities.

The BAC has established four offices in China, namely Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and Nanjing. It has also partnered with China's Tsinghua University, he said.

The past years have witnessed more frequent exchanges between the area and the Chinese side, and the council is scheduled to lead several delegations to visit China in 2019, said Wunderman.

The BAC is a local organization that promotes economic development in the San Francisco Bay Area and coordinates regional efforts in addressing pressing issues faced by the region.

"I think this region is very open to the world. Certainly, in some parts of America, they think globalization is a threat, but people don't feel threatened by globalization in the Bay Area. That's a big difference," said Wunderman.

Wunderman noted that the reason behind the region's success to become the innovation hub of the world lies in its unique culture, which emphasizes diversity, sharing information, and the way people approach life, especially in its tolerance of failure.

"In a lot of cultures there's a penalty to pay when you fail, losing your job or reputation. But in Silicon Valley, when you go for a job, you have to say what you have failed; if you can't tell them about your failures, you can't get the job," Wunderman said.

Despite the success in technology innovation, the BAC president said that the Bay Area is also facing lots of severe problems, like housing shortage and traffic congestion, adding that if those problems were left unfixed, the area would be difficult to maintain its advantages.

The BAC is playing an active role in addressing those issues. In 2018, the council successfully promoted an investment of 5.6 billion U.S. dollars in the area's traffic congestion relief and public transit system improvement.

Speaking of new Governor Gavin Newsom's recent scrapping of a high-speed rail plan to connect California's capital city of Sacramento, San Francisco and Los Angeles, Wunderman, a strong advocate for the rail project, said the council is seeking an alternative way to build it.

"We would like to see it get built. I think eventually we have to connect Los Angeles and the Bay Area by fast train. We need to find a new approach to financing it, which may be more regional as opposed to the state level," said Wunderman.