Tag Archives: China

college_students

Record 82,000 students choose ASU

While college enrollments may have slowed in recent years, Arizona State University continues to draw record numbers of academically qualified students who are eager to learn and embark on their journey to a better life.

As the fall 2014 semester gets under way Aug. 21, the university anticipates an enrollment of more than 82,000 undergraduate and graduate students – a new record for number of students enrolled and a nearly 8 percent increase from last year. Increases also are seen in number of transfer, international and veteran and veteran dependent students, and the student body is the most diverse ever.

“Students are choosing ASU because they know we are the right choice to help open their eyes to a new world filled with possibilities. They have come here to work hard and we are committed to teaching, guiding and mentoring them along the way,” said Kent Hopkins, ASU Vice Provost for Enrollment Services. “The Sun Devil family grows stronger every year and we are looking forward to seeing what our students envision and accomplish.”

Preliminary first-day enrollment shows records set across nearly all areas. Undergraduate enrollment grew to 66,309 and graduate school enrollment grew to 15,751 for a total of 82,060.

Getting ready to start the school year is Preston Adcock, from Glendale, a junior life sciences major in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences and a Barrett honors student. He has his dream set on going to medical school and working as an orthopedic surgeon or in emergency medicine. He is working in ASU Professor Carl Wagner’s organic chemistry lab.

“I like New College and West campus because it’s small enough to make friends on campus whether you live on or off campus,” Adcock said. “The professors are fantastic.”

Freshman enrollment this year grew to more than 11,000. Applications received were more than 46,000, a 25 percent increase over the previous academic year. The Fall 2014 freshman class is an academically strong group, with an average high school GPA 3.4 and average SAT score of 1113. More than half, 54 percent, are New American University Scholars at the Dean, Provost and President Scholarship levels, the most prestigious scholarships for first-time freshmen.

Transfer enrollment has grown to more than 8,800 – up nearly 13 percent from fall 2013. The transfer class is academically strong, with an average 3.1 transfer GPA.

Jonathan Williams transferred to ASU from Glendale Community College in Glendale (metro Los Angeles) California. He is currently studying communications, but plans to switch to journalism to pursue his career goal of becoming a sports journalist. He learned about the Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from friends at a USC football game and decided to apply, because “it’s better than the state journalism schools in California.” He’ll be working as a news reporter at the State Press this semester.

“I’m looking forward to the resources at a major research university, and delving into writing and photography as part of my job at the State Press,” Williams said. “For me, writing is a passion, and I want to be a journalist because I want to be able to write about what’s important and going on in the world, and keep people informed.”

International campus-based enrollment increased 33.6 percent to 8,787 students. The top 10 countries for international enrollment at ASU are China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Canada, Kuwait, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Mexico. In addition, some 600 Brazilian students are calling ASU their educational home for the next academic year through their government-sponsored Brazil Scientific Mobility Program.

Viswajith Hanasoge Nataraja, from Bangalore, India, is pursuing his master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering and his area of interest is fluid mechanics and energy. He is a student worker in the University Sustainability Practices office, is actively involved in the Zero Waste at ASU initiative, and is vice-president of the Indian Student Association at ASU.

“I spoke to many friends here in the U.S. and in India, and to my lecturers in India, and their top recommendation was ASU because of its infrastructure, attention to detail and quality of the faculty. It also has excellent research facilities,” he said. “I enjoy being a part of ASU’s sustainability efforts, and think that this will also give me an edge in my professional skill set.”

Other milestones: The ASU student body is the most diverse, 34 percent, ever; new graduate enrollment increased more than 10 percent; and more than 4,000 veterans and veteran dependents have enrolled– a 25 percent increase in overall enrollment and a 62 percent growth in new graduate enrollment since last year.

Patrick Harris, a senior airman in the Arizona National Guard out of Tucson, is majoring in music education with a minor in youth services leadership. A sophomore from Newport News, Va., who served in the Air Force for four-and-a-half years, he found through research that ASU is one of the top schools for supporting military veterans and for music education.

“The experience at ASU has been getting even better, especially as I take advantage of the opportunities to get involved in activities and organizations. I’m part of the Sigma Alpha Lambda fraternity, and am involved with the marching band at Marco de Niza High School in Tempe, Scottsdale and Mesa Community Colleges’ bands, and Sonic Brass Band,” said Harris. “I’ve always wanted to teach music, and knew that I needed a degree to do so. I wanted to put in the work to achieve my dream.”

Avnet - Fortune Global 500

Insight Forms Group to Facilitate American-Chinese Business

Tim and Eric Crown, Arizona brothers who founded Insight Enterprises, have formed a partnership with Robert Parker, the former Insight Vice President of Financial Services.  Insight Enterprises is a Fortune 500 computer services company with sales in excess of $5 billion in 2012.  Together they formed the Crown Parker Advisory Group, a successful business development company focused on United States and China business relationships.

Crown Parker Advisory Group has also been working with members of the Bush family.  The group has worked together with Neil Bush on several transactions in China, as well as organizing an appearance by former President George W. Bush at the American Century Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Crown Parker Advisory Group specializes in strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, raising capital and government relations.  They are working with clients in China and the United States, in the fields of clean energy, logistics, entertainment, commodities and banking.  Most recently, the group has assisted in the development of a new cold chain logistics company in China.

This past February, Robert Parker had the pleasure of interviewing China’s then-incoming President Xi Jinping, for FOX News, during his visit to Los Angeles.  At the request of the People’s Republic of China, Parker attended events at the Palm Springs’ summit between President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama.  “We appreciate President Xi Jinping’s confidence in this new model of relations between the United States and China,” says Parker.

Robert Parker and Eric Crown have been interviewed and supplied commentary on local and national programs including, FOX News and CCTV in Asia regarding U.S. and China business relations.  Parker, who now considers President Xi Jinping a friend, says he feels confident that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China and the United States will succeed together in business and in friendship.

GPEC Forum

GPEC targets international business executives

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) this week officially launched an international toolkit and forum series, called “Doing Business in Greater Phoenix, U.S.A,” with additional support from the City of Phoenix. The toolkit is designed to assist foreign companies with investment and expansion decisions in the United States and, specifically, the Greater Phoenix region.

From accessing capital to forming strategic partnerships with universities and purchasing land in Arizona – the toolkit is a compilation of how-to advice ranging from human resources issues, immigration law, investment parameters, taxes, import/export laws and banking.

“Phoenix is open for business,” Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said. “In order for our economy to be globally competitive, we have to reach out internationally so we can attract the businesses and jobs that will propel Phoenix toward a stronger future. Making our city a place where it’s easier to do business makes it even more attractive to investment. It’s a win-win.”

The toolkit was officially launched last month in Shanghai, where GPEC joined representatives from Green Card Fund, Polsinelli and BDO for the first forum, held in conjunction with the International Photovoltaic Power Generation Conference and Exhibition (SNEC).

“The response we received to our forum was incredible, with 75 attendees at the forum and nearly 1,000 online views to date – and we are just now starting to actively promote it,” GPEC President and CEO Barry Broome said. “In China, executives are hungry for this type of information so they can grow their businesses abroad. Fortunately for them, Greater Phoenix is primed for growth and is very hospitable in helping companies that are considering foreign-direct investments with their options in the City of Phoenix and the surrounding region.”

Arizona has taken giant strides over the past few years to keep business taxes low and improve available economic development programs. The City of Phoenix has a 24-hour business permitting program that allows businesses to apply for a permit and start construction on the same day.

“The response from businesspeople and government officials in China to the toolkit we presented was excellent. Helping executives understand the benefits that GPEC has to offer companies is a key component to positioning our region for future business opportunities,” said Melissa Ho, a shareholder of the national law firm Polsinelli. “Our international law team is excited to partner with GPEC and the City of Phoenix as we explore the possibilities in China.”

Since last month’s launch in Shanghai, the toolkit’s website has received nearly 1,000 hits without any additional promotion beyond the first forum. As such, the region’s international brand – of which the City of Phoenix is a central part – is receiving a significant boost from the toolkit. The media impact from the initial rollout in Shanghai was also substantial, with media impressions of 370 million from last month’s trip alone.

“By taking the initiative and launching the International Toolkit, GPEC, along with local business leaders and the City of Phoenix, have shown their steadfast commitment to providing foreign firms and individuals with the knowledge and resources needed to successfully invest and expand to the Greater Phoenix region,” said Kyle Walker, Managing Partner at Green Card Fund, which specializes in EB-5 visas and presented at the forum in Shanghai.

“I couldn’t be more excited about GPEC’s creativity in developing ways to attract new businesses to Arizona and am proud to contribute the strength of the BDO network to those efforts,” said Susan Wolak, Office Business Line Leader at BDO USA, which has 37 offices and 4,700 employees in China, and also assisted in the recent trip to Shanghai.

The toolkit is currently available in English, Mandarin and Spanish, and plans are underway for further translations. Both short and long versions of the toolkit are available at http://www.gpec.org/toolkit.

Matt.Widdows

HomeSmart International Expands Network into Texas

Real estate firm HomeSmart International continues its nationwide growth with the opening of its newest franchise in Cedar Hill, Texas. Based in Phoenix, HomeSmart began franchising two years ago, offering one of the most attractive business models in the real estate industry.

HomeSmart CEO and President Chuck Lemire believes this new partnership will continue the international growth of HomeSmart and provide great brokerage services through the franchise owners leadership and experience in the Dallas Forth Worth region. Dallas Fort Worth is one of the top five economic markets in the United States and HomeSmart is the number one independent brokerage firm in the Southwest.

Since opening in January 2000, HomeSmart has had tremendous success by growing to over 7,500 agents nationwide. HomeSmart provides their Franchise Partners with specific systems and technology that create efficiency in operations and keep costs down while allowing exponential growth.

Cedar Hill franchise owners Jonathan Cochran and John Gerhardt bring a unique mix of experience to HomeSmart. Cochran served in the US Navy as a Naval Flight Officer before entering the civilian work force as a real estate agent, while Gerhardt worked as a real estate agent for seven years before partnering with Cochran.

“After learning about HomeSmart and gathering an understanding of what the franchise offers for our clients and for our agents, my business partner [Gerhardt] and I chose to purchase a HomeSmart franchise and begin our new direction in real estate as HomeSmart franchise owners. It was an excellent choice,” said Cochran.

Gerhardt adds, “I have always had a passion to help others and real estate offers that opportunity in unique ways. My family and I are very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead as we embark on this new endeavor with HomeSmart.”

HomeSmart emphasizes the importance of being aware of client needs and exceeding their expectations, which in turn builds strong relationships with the buyers and sellers in every market. HomeSmart’s proprietary software also positions its franchise partners ahead of the curve. Created by Founder and Chairman Matt Widdows and his development team, the reputable systems are proven to save business owners huge costs attributed to web hosting, lead generation and back office systems. This allows the franchise owners to provide the technology to their agents for free while allowing the agents to keep 100 percent of their commissions. Other advantages to HomeSmart’s franchise program include a virtual receptionist, generous fee structure, and a full suite of branding and marketing products.

HomeSmart continues to open new offices and add jobs across the United States, with offices throughout ten states and international operations in Shanghai, China. They added approximately 3,500 new jobs in 2012, and their goal is to continue to grow nationally and internationally in 2013.

For more information on HomeSmart and its franchise opportunities, visit www.homesmartinternational.com. Follow HomeSmart on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homesmart.

Solar Power

Suntech closing Goodyear factory

Chinese solar panel maker Suntech Power Holdings Co. is closing its factory in Goodyear in part because of higher production costs.

The broader solar industry has struggled in recent years due to a steep price drop for solar panels. Global demand for panels has languished in Europe and elsewhere, even as manufacturing capacity soared.

Suntech’s solar panel manufacturing plant, which opened in October 2010, had 43 employees. The facility’s peak production was 50 megawatts per year in 2011. This was scaled back to 15 megawatts per year in November.

Suntech said Tuesday that the increased production costs were made worse by import tariffs on solar cells and aluminum frames imposed by the U.S. government and global solar module oversupply.

In November the U.S. International Trade Commission voted to impose unilateral tariffs of 35.97 percent on Suntech solar cells made in China. Suntech said these solar cells are a key component used at its Goodyear factory.

The company also said that the factory’s closing is in line with its restructuring efforts to rationalize production capacity and cut operating expenses by 20 percent this year.

U.S.-traded shares of Suntech fell 7 cents, or 6.1 percent, to $1.08 in midday trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of 71 cents to $3.68.

Funding Startup Companies Jumpstart Economy

GPEC boosts state’s economy by attracting more foreign direct investment

The Greater Phoenix Economic Council’s California 50 program — which aimed to fly 50 Golden State CEOs to Phoenix for an opportunity to tour and explore the region’s business-friendly environment — proved to be so popular that they expanded it to 100 a week after its launch.

But it may be GPEC’s pitch to CEOs even farther away that makes the biggest impact on Arizona’s economy.

“GPEC is focused on a specific region in China, defined by Shanghai and 10 other cities connected by high-speed rail,” says Ron Butler, managing partner at Ernst & Young in Phoenix and co-chair of GPEC’s International Leadership Council. “This region (known as the ‘Z Corridor’) features China’s largest concentration of industries, including solar, medical device, IT, pharmaceuticals, high-tech manufacturing and chemicals. GPEC has made tremendous strides over the past several years in China, particularly with solar and renewable energy companies. Now, the organization is looking to leverage those relationships and expand into other, capital-intensive industries.”

GPEC’s effort is significant, Butler says, because export industries and foreign direct investment (FDI) drive economic growth, create wealth within the region, and tend to be capital-intensive operations that pay higher-than-average wages. Currently, FDI accounts for 73,000 jobs in Arizona and the state saw a 235 percent increase in FDI from 2005-2010, from just over $270 million to more than $904 million.

“By focusing on the Z corridor, a zone known for its solar, high-tech, bio-medical, and chemical industries, GPEC has identified a region that can appreciate what Arizona and — more importantly Arizona workers — can do well,” says Ilya A. Iussa, assistant professor of law at Phoenix School of Law.

But it’s not just investment from China that is giving Arizona an economic boost within the solar and renewable energy industries. In addition to China’s Suntech, the region has seen investments from Spain’s Rioglass and Abengoa, England’s Faist, Germany’s Solon, France’s Saint-Gobain, and Canada’s Cosma International.

“GPEC smartly targets the regions and countries that represent significant growth opportunities, like Canada, China and Western Europe, and works these markets with effective marketing and business development strategies,” Butler says. “Now, with a more concentrated effort underway in China and successful positioning as both a leader in the U.S. solar market and an on-the-record supporter of expanded free trade with China, the Greater Phoenix region is poised for amplified growth in FDI, particularly from China.”

Despite its success, experts says Arizona still has some work to do.

“Our neighboring states and biggest competitors far outrank us in national FDI and export-trade rankings,” Butler says. “California is first for FDI and second for exports, while Texas is second for FDI and first for exports. As such, we must continue evaluating our market for additional FDI and export industry opportunities, and look for ways to increase our competitiveness in these areas.”

Lawmakers have identified one area that needs to be addressed to gain a competitive edge on other states.

“One of the first things we should do is focus on developing a highly educated workforce that will attract companies and businesses looking to move their headquarters,” says Rep. Matt Salmon, R-5. “In addition, it is equally important for us to create a pro-business environment and that comes by reducing harmful regulations that hamper economic growth. Both would increase Arizona’s role in the global economy.”

In order to be increase its global presence and become more competitive with neighboring states like California and Texas, Butler says Arizona must increase the number of export industries operating in the state.

“We can increase our competitiveness for these types of investments,” he says, “with a targeted economic development program for export industries, similar to the Renewable Energy Tax Incentive Program (SB1403), which has brought significant investments to the region and the Qualified Facilities Tax Credit (HB2815), which expanded the successful renewable energy program to include qualified, export-based investments.”

economy

2013 Economic Forecasts for U.S. & Arizona

Arizona’s economy improved somewhat this year, but what can we expect in 2013? Top experts on the U.S. and Arizona economies will deliver their forecasts for the state, nation, stock market and housing market at the Valley’s largest and most trusted economic-forecasting event on Dec. 5.

The 49th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon is co-sponsored by the Department of Economics at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and JPMorgan Chase. About 1,000 people are expected to attend the event at the Phoenix Convention Center.

“Arizona’s economic forecasters are patting themselves on the back, since their projections made a year ago appear to be accurate for 2012; the state seems certain to record about 2-percent job growth, and we are seeing the beginning of a housing comeback,” says Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “However, 2013 is a different story. A huge cloud of uncertainty is caused, not only by questions about what the next Congress will do, but also about how the overall U.S. economy will react to recession in Europe and slower growth in China. Though the national economy always has some impact on Arizona, until housing and population growth really pick up, the state seems destined to closely follow the national business cycle. If the U.S. economy contracts, then Arizona’s economy will, too. That’s the major risk we’re watching.”

Presentations will include forecasts on:

* Arizona and the regional economy from McPheters, who is also editor of the prestigious Arizona and Western Blue Chip Economic Forecast publications.
* The U.S. economy from Beth Ann Bovino, deputy chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, a widely quoted media expert with two decades of financial experience, including a position at the Federal Reserve.
* The financial sector from Anthony Chan, chief economist for private wealth management at JPMorgan Chase & Co., who served as an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, appears monthly on CNBC and is a member of the Reuters, Bloomberg and Dow Jones weekly economic indicator panels.
* Real estate and construction from Elliott D. Pollack, chief executive officer of Elliott D. Pollack and Company, a highly regarded Scottsdale-based economic and real estate consulting firm.

The 49th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon will be held in the Phoenix Convention Center’s West Ballroom on Wednesday, Dec. 5 from 11:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Admission is $90 per person. Proceeds are used to support student scholarships, faculty research, and other academic and professional activities in the Department of Economics at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

For more information, including registration details, go to www.wpcarey.asu.edu/efl or call (480) 965-3531.

114338026

GPEC makes case against solar tariffs

In support of the prospering solar industry in the Greater Phoenix metro area, City of Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord testified against proposed tariffs on Chinese-manufactured photovoltaic cells and modules at a hearing of the International Trade Commission in Washington. The City of Goodyear is a member of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC) and home to the only U.S. manufacturing hub for China-based Suntech, the world’s largest solar manufacturer. Mayor Lord is the only elected official testifying at the hearing.

“Greater Phoenix was one of the hardest hit regions in the nation during the economic downturn, but thanks to the hard work of leaders in our community, we’ve created an industry cluster for renewable companies to create a more diverse and sustainable employer base,” said Barry Broome, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, the region’s premier economic development organization. “Now, we’re home to more than 260 companies within the solar supply chain, 27 manufacturing facilities and more than 9,000 jobs associated with renewable energy companies and utility-scale projects – a significant number when considering that parts of our state are at more than 20 percent unemployment.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that if implemented, these tariffs would have a detrimental effect not only on our existing solar and renewable energy industry but also in our ability to attract further investments in this sector from around the world,” Broome added. “It would send a signal that the U.S. is closed for business when it comes to this flourishing global industry.”

GPEC works closely with companies on their expansion and relocation plans, including a concentrated approach to those making a foreign-direct investment in the United States. In recent years, it championed a renewable energy-specific incentive that has drawn numerous solar companies to Arizona, including Suntech. Additionally, there are another dozen Chinese companies with investments totaling $400 million that have identified the Greater Phoenix region as a potential location for their projects.

GPEC recently filed a formal letter of protest to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission against the tariffs. To view the letters, please visit www.gpec.org/tariff .

“Many of Goodyear’s economic development efforts center on solar or foreign-direct investment. As a small city located in a Foreign Trade Zone, we want more Suntechs – not less,” Mayor Lord said in her testimony. “In Goodyear, a town of just 70,000, Suntech employs more than 100 well-trained professionals and, if market demand continues, has plans to more than double that number.

“I’m worried that the imposition of punitive duties will put both current and future jobs at risk, in addition to those at related companies within the supply chain and the residual effects they could have on the people, schools and welfare of my community,” she added.

The Brattle Group recently reported that a 100 percent tariff would result in estimated job losses between 17,000 and 50,000 in 2014. Clearly, if implemented these tariffs would be detrimental not only to Arizona’s solar industry but also the entire industry nationwide and the U.S. economy as a whole, in addition to substantial job losses.