Trade Mission to China and Japan to strengthen local business and tourism ties

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps will lead the city’s second trade mission to China and Morioka, Japan, October 15-24 to strengthen the city’s business and cultural ties with this important and growing trade and tourism market.

Building on the success of last year’s mission, Mayor Helps will be joined by the South Island Prosperity Project (SIPP) and eight local companies, Camosun College and Tourism Victoria.

The 10-day trade visit will include meetings in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Victoria’s sister city Morioka, Japan, with a focus on exporting local innovation in clean tech, manufacturing, education, film and tourism.

“Our local business and cultural ties with China and Japan are big and growing,” said Mayor Helps. “We are returning this year with an even larger contingent of businesses and partners to strengthen established relationships and open up new export opportunities for Victoria businesses and post-secondary institutions.”

“In Chinese business culture, mayors can play an instrumental role in opening doors and furthering relationships needed for businesses to succeed,” said Emilie de Rosenroll, CEO of the South Island Prosperity Project. 

“Prior to the trip, we reached out to numerous companies across the Greater Victoria area to gauge their interest in exploring new opportunities in the Asian market. We are thrilled to have eight companies joining us on the trade mission this year. Given that each of these companies has varied interests, our team has been working diligently to customize their itineraries, set-up meetings and refine their planning to ensure they maximize results and achieve their goals in international markets,” added de Rosenroll.

SIPP is meeting several groups in China who are interested in traveling to Victoria in March 2018 to look at investments, technology applications and partnership opportunities as part of their attendance at GLOBE Vancouver Forum, North America’s largest clean-tech and sustainable business conference.  This is part of SIPP’s Smart South Island initiative.

In Beijing, Mayor Helps will attend and participate in B2B meetings as scheduled with Tourism Victoria and other Victoria tourism businesses at Destination Canada Showcase Asia. 2018 has been named the “Year of Canadian Tourism” in China which, combined with the recent announcement to open seven new Visa Application Centres in key growth markets is great news for continued growth from China for Victoria’s tourism sector.

“Greater Victoria's tourism industry is grateful for the support shown by Mayor Lisa Helps. Mayors are highly regarded in the Chinese business context. Mayor Helps was extremely effective last year on the trade show floor of Destination Canada's Showcase Asia,” said Paul Nursey, President and CEO of Tourism Victoria. “She made a very positive impression with major tour operators and Chinese media. Together we closed a lot of business. It is this kind of collaboration and political support that ensures Victoria punches above its weight in the international marketplace.”

In Shenzhen, the City and some members of the delegation are meeting with and touring the facilities of BYD, a Chinese-based manufacturer of 100 per cent electric buses and commercial fleet vehicles. BYD’s vice-president of the Canadian market lives in Victoria, and SIPP is interested in increasing their office presence here.

The City of Victoria and SIPP are partnering with the Canadian Consulate and the BC Trade and Investment Offices in China to host a reception Shanghai with Victoria-based companies already established in China and newer ‘market ready’ companies looking for entry into China. 

In Morioka, the focus turns to education and increasing post-secondary research and student exchange programs, including a visit to the ‘Incubator Lab’ at Iwate University and meetings at Morioka University. The delegation will also tour an innovative workforce housing project for construction workers in Kuzakai.


“Our relationship with Morioka University goes back decades,” remarked Graham Knipfel, Camosun’s Manager, Global Consulting and Partnerships. “Students from Greater Victoria have participated in semesters abroad in Morioka and we’ve had the pleasure of welcoming many students from across Iwate Prefecture to Camosun. We’re particularly excited to promote our new Camosun English Learning Adventures (CELA) short-term program which draws upon Camosun’s applied learning advantage in hospitality and technology and really showcases Victoria and the south island as an education destination.”