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March 24, 2010

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Sister cities celebrate 30-year link

MORE than 100 Bay Area green-tech businesses were shaking hands and exchanging cards at the start of the 30-year anniversary celebration of the San Francisco and Shanghai sister city relationship recently.

Shanghai leaders at the luncheon seminar treated a notably "green" audience of architects, developers, venture capitalists and non-profits to a preview of the World Expo 2010 and the city's own comprehensive initiatives in preserving the environment.

At the same event, the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Committee offered exclusive opportunities to 80 Bay Area green-tech businesses to exhibit their "urban best practices" at the World Expo during San Francisco Week from June 17 to 25.

The February 10 luncheon seminar with Shanghai and San Francisco leaders occurred as both celebrated the historic sister city relationship signed in 1980 by then San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein and Shanghai Mayors Wang Daohan and Jiang Zemin.

The anniversary celebration will culminate with San Francisco as the only official US city represented at the World Expo. The city will share the stage with more than 200 nations and organizations and an audience of 70 million visitors - or nearly four times the visitors to San Francisco's own World Expo in 1915.

At the luncheon, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress Liu Yungen underscored the historic significance of the seminar. He said that the sister city relationship has moved into a more "substantive" and enduring cooperation between San Francisco and Shanghai. Liu noted that the cooperation would have longer lasting effects for both cities.

Liu's entourage in San Francisco last month signified a new sister city chapter after 30 years of more than 200 successful cultural, municipal and business exchanges.

"We were delighted that Chairman Liu could bring his delegation to visit San Francisco, in particular, Mr Sun Jian, deputy director of the Shanghai Environment Protection Bureau," said James Fang, chairman of the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Committee.

Mark Chandler, director of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's Office of International Trade and Commerce, said, "Speaker Liu through his comments and actions at the seminar created great enthusiasm for Expo 2010 and for San Francisco Week at the Expo in June. He substantially contributed to our city's efforts at building even closer ties between our two cities."

Fang noted that closer ties could reverse the harmful environment effects caused by the respective countries of the two cities.

He cited that Shanghai alone is spending 3 percent, or US$6.5 billion of its annual GDP, on sustainable and renewable energy projects. The San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit System, where Fang is president of its board of directors, derives two-thirds of its energy from renewable sources to move 340,000 daily riders thru subways and out of polluting cars.


He said, "The United States' °?- and particularly the Bay Area's - strong suit is innovation. Shanghai's strong suit is in manufacturing. What we were trying to do with this environmental seminar was to combine the best of both cultures to take small steps in making the world a more environmentally sustainable place."

Sun gave a comprehensive presentation on Shanghai's initiatives in protecting the environment and reducing the carbon footprint of the World Expo. These trends, according to Sun, are stimulating environmental industries like clean coal and eco-building technologies in China and Shanghai.

Fang and the Sister City Committee called upon Bay Area businesses to join the San Francisco Week delegation to come to Shanghai and exhibit exclusively inside the Expo's Urban Best Practices building.

"We will be given one week (as the only official American city) ? to show the world the tremendous innovation the S.F. Bay Area has done in green tech and sustainable technology," he said.

The Sister City chairman said that the Sister City was working with the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce to organize a separate trade show outside the Expo grounds.

Fang added that Sister City media partnerships with Chinese Business Network and Shanghai Daily - the largest English-language daily in Shanghai - are covering San Francisco Week. San Francisco Bay Area businesses in the US and in China should not miss this exhibition with nearly 3 million visiting the Expo during San Francisco Week and millions more watching or reading through the Sister City media partners.Interaction among businesses and governments could be "fruitful given the urgency of global warming," said Fang.


"Shanghai and China are open to collaborating with whoever has the most expertise," said Lisa Spivey, executive consultant for the Sister City Committee. "We were pleased to see a response from mid-size companies to Global 1,000 companies participating in the program because this delegation and exhibition has something for all sizes of organizations."

One green global business is Marvell, which works with the Environmental Defense Fund and US-China Green Energy Council. Last year, Marvell donated to University of California Berkeley the nanotechnology fabrication building which houses a center dedicated to using information technology to solving pressing environmental issues.

Marvell Co-founder Weili Dai is generously supporting San Francisco Week. This year, she celebrates her arrival in the United States from Shanghai, which coincided with the founding of the Sister City Committee in 1980. Today, Marvell has worldwide operations, including Santa Clara and Shanghai.

"This is just one of the rare moments in history when you can participate in something that has far reaching consequences for your business? the marketplace and culture really do value auspicious occasions, really do appreciate gestures," said Tom Hayes, vice president of corporate marketing for Weili Dai's Marvell.

"This should be an opportunity if you're in any of the green spaces, green environmental and low carbon businesses," he said.

"(Chairman Liu's) delegation maybe trying to learn from us, but there is so much innovation going in Shanghai and China right now. We can learn a lot more from their operations and their effectiveness. Just to see what is happening in that milieu is worth the price of admission (to S.F. Week)."

On the non-profit side, Beverly Ho-A-Yun Popek, environmental program director at ASIAN Inc, works on one of San Francisco's first no-cost and low-tech ways of changing homeowner and tenant behavior to promote conservation.

While the US emphasizes energy efficiency, for example, through low flow showerheads, she takes the other side of the equation - encouraging households to take shorter showers.

After attending the seminar, Popek saw an opportunity to press her mission.

"I feel that China would be ideal and much better with my program," she said. "What my program does is asking people to do things different. It's like asking Americans to give up French fries. It's very typical. Everyone knows that they should do it. But will they do it?"

Mission leaders for San Francisco Week will include the city and America's most influential politicians: US Senator Dianne Feinstein, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Newsom, former US Secretary of State George Shultz and former Mayors Frank Jordan and Willie Brown.

Contact Lisa Spivey at 415-333-6800 or for more information about participation in San Francisco Week and environmental initiatives in Shanghai and the World Expo.


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