There are only a handful of Chinese companies in Kentucky, but its governor wants to change that.
The first Chinese company ventured into Kentucky as late as 2013 when Shandong Borun Process Industrial Technology Co acquired Birtley Industrial Equipment.
Last year, Haier Group acquired GE Appliances for .6 billion. In the same year, a consortium of investors led by Apex Technology based in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, and PAG Asia Capital acquired Lexmark International Inc for .6 billion. Together, the Chinese companies employ about 8,500 people in the state.
For Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, this is just the beginning. He wants to see more Chinese investment coming to the state.
In a meeting on Tuesday with a Chinese business delegation led by Minister-Counselor Tian Deyou from the Chinese embassy, Governor Bevin expressed his strong desire to work with China.
"China is such a global powerhouse, it's crazy we don't have more Chinese companies headquartered here. We are starting to see some, but we should see a whole lot more. This is why I am excited to talk to you: what are the ways we can make it easier for you to do business with us here in Kentucky?"
Bevin, a former businessman who is holding public office for the first time, discussed various issues in a frank and businesslike manner with the delegation, and did not shy away from some sensitive issues which have arisen from recent acquisitions by Chinese companies in the state.
"There are people in this country worrying about companies from this country and that country, should they worry? Probably not, but they do. Sometimes perception becomes reality for some people. It's our responsibility to communicate to people and make sure that the reality is what reality is, not some people's misunderstanding of it," Governor Bevin said.
"I see China as a very strong potential partner for Kentucky. I believe this, I have seen this, I have met with people who reaffirm this, I know it to be true," Governor Bevin continued.