Business leaders sign private Bay Area/China pact
Following a year of negotiations, business executives from the Bay Area and China have signed an unusual multimillion-dollar investment deal that circumvents both parties' governments and could lead to the smoother flow of ocean cargo from Shanghai to Oakland.
San Francisco-based business group the Bay Area Council and China's Yangtze Council, headed by Hong Kong billionaire Vincent Lo, drafted the memorandum of understanding, which representatives of the two groups signed this month in Shanghai.
The agreement calls for the creation of a venture capital fund worth up to $250 million to seed Chinese high-tech startups. It also aims to:
* Simplify the logistics of ocean cargo between the Port of Oakland and the Port of Shanghai.
* Encourage the development of 'green' buildings in China.
* Develop Shanghai’s Yangpu district as an information technology center.
The agreement does not appear to be binding on either party, nor does it detail how the goals would be accomplished.
Richard Kramlich, co-founder and general partner of New Enterprise Associates, a Silicon Valley venture capital fund, is spearheading the technology venture capital fund effort.
Bay Area Council spokesman John Grubb told the San Francisco Chronicle that the Port of Oakland, which handles 95 percent of the Bay Area’s waterborne imports and exports, expects to work extensively with port authorities in Shanghai, a major gateway to fast-developing China and in a string of large inland cities that lies along the Yangtze.