Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce president/CEO Dianne Hawkins recently experienced China from a cultural and business perspective along with about 50 other Chamber CEOs from across Canada.
The 12-day tour stopped in Beijing, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Shanghai, and included visits to the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Great Wall and the gardens of the Summer Palace.
The delegates also visited factories, and met with business leaders from the International Trade and Investment office, and the Municipal Commission of Commerce.
Along with experiencing the country, the purpose of the trip was to promote trade and tourism between China and Canada.
Hawkins said the tour was an “incredible opportunity” to experience another culture, and to discuss with officials the barriers to doing business in the two countries.
“China is a country that, like Canada and the U.S., is challenged with the ongoing shifts and changes occurring in the global marketplace,” she said.
“Touring four cities in a country as large as China I can hardly say I have seen China. That would be like telling someone you’ve been to Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal and you’ve ‘experienced Canada.’
“China is as diverse in its country as we are in ours in terms of land mass and interests. There is rural China, and there is skyscraper China. I saw the latter.”