Panel discusses culture, business climate in China

China panel

From left, Christine Davis, Scott Kennedy, Emily Metzgar and Greg Andrews talked to the club about their visit to China. (Photo by Jack Dvorak)

A panel of reporters, IU researchers and educators presented their reflections and findings from a recent trip to China at the April 25 meeting of the Bloomington Press Club. The group met at the Wells House on the IU campus.

Members of the Indiana contingent who traveled to Shanghai in March included IU School of Journalism professor Emily Metzgar; IU’s media relations manager George Vlahakis; Scott Kennedy, director of IU’s Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business; Herald-Times reporter Chris Fyall; Christine Davis of the Leadership Development Institute at the Kelley School of Business; and Greg Andrews of the Indianapolis Business Journal.

They participated in a conference, “U.S.-China Business Cooperation in the 21st Century: U.S.-China economic and trade relations during the period of the post-global economic crisis,”  led by IU’s Research Center for Chinese Politics and Business and the Center for International Business Education and Research.

The conference was at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, but the group also visited Shanghai and surrounding areas to see Indiana and U.S. businesses at work in China.

Kennedy said the RCCPB  hosted the Chinese for a conference in 2009 to promote legal awareness among entrepreneurs, but decided to focus on media this year for the conference in Shanghai. Metzgar and colleague Lars Willnat  presented their research about Americans’ perceptions of China during the conference.

For reporters Fyall and Andrews, bringing the China story to their Hoosier newspapers was a challenge. Fyall said he worked to devise stories that would help Herald-Times readers relate to business issues in China.

“It was a challenge to make this an Indiana story, but not a challenge to find stories,” said IBJ’s Andrews. “For example, Indianapolis-based Lilly has 3,000 people in China, more than it has in any other one country outside the U.S.”

Vlahakis brought the story to IU audiences. He maintained a blog to share his impressions and photos with readers, documenting not only the business aspects of the trip but also the cultural.

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