Not only did they see the acclaimed “Oracle of Omaha,” a delegation of Chinese executives gained valuable insight into doing business in and with Warren Buffett’s hometown.
“You have to seize an opportunity such as the annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders weekend to attract business and investors to Omaha, share more about the region’s economic development opportunities and learn more about their respective business and industry opportunities,” says Mindy Ruffalo, the Chamber’s director of international economic development.
The Chamber connected with the Chinese delegation and other international visitors over the course of the Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders weekend, partnering with AmCham China, the Nebraska Chinese Association, and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to offer guests an extensive, business development-focused itinerary.
“This platform is the perfect environment to meet each other in person, begin relationships and bolster existing relationships while convening at the ‘Super Bowl for Investors.’ Without relationships – or guanxi in Mandarin Chinese – nothing is possible,” Ruffalo says.
In addition to attending Warren Buffett’s annual shareholders meeting, the Chinese delegation met with businesses and state and local government officials. They toured the community and various business offices and learned more about the business climate, investment and market expansion opportunities.
“It's very important for the upper level management teams of Chinese companies, and potential Chinese investors, that Nebraska has great policies and regulatory environment tailored to attract new businesses, a skilled and talented workforce, a great living environment, balanced cultural diversity and a low cost of doing business,” says Linda Steele, president of the Nebraska Chinese Association.
The four-day itinerary included the Chamber and AmCham China’s Welcome Luncheon at Gallup, which included a tour and panel discussions that covered hot topics such as cybersecurity, policy, ecommerce and big data. Luncheon sponsors included Borsheims, Complete Weddings, First Data, First National, Global Partners in Hope and Gallup.
“Visitors all noted how impressed they were with development here,” Ruffalo says. “From UNMC’s state-of-the-art cancer research hospital to the various multi-million-dollar development projects happening across the city, it was evident that Omaha surpassed all expectations. Visitors were also wowed by the ease of making connections with government, business and resources. The Midwest hospitality and ‘Nebraska nice’ reflected our region well.”