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Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, U of R to Hold First Rochester-China Business Exchange

By Staff


chamberThe Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Commerce, New York State, and the University of Rochester’s Center for Emerging and Innovative Sciences, will hold its first Rochester-China Business Exchange, from June 16 to June 18 in Rochester.

Paul Ballentine, executive director of CEIS at the University of Rochester, has organized the event, which will feature a delegation of six investors from China that will meet with Rochester businesses to explore opportunities for partnerships, joint ventures, minority investments, and acquisitions with companies in the region.

Ballentine said the investors will be seeking to invest anywhere from $2 million to $700 million dollars.

“I was asked by the U.S. Department of Commerce in China to put together this event, and I reached out to the chamber because they represent the businesses here,” he stated. “And Bob Duffy has the ability to send out an email to a large number of companies.”

Initially, Ballentine said the purpose for holding the event had been to bring Chinese investors who were interested in the photonics industry to Rochester, in light of the region’s recent $600 million grant for a new federally-funded photonics institute.

However, he said the chamber has now decided to extend the opportunity to a wider array of businesses, in order to provide a bigger draw to investors.

“The purpose for doing this is to bring more money into the region,” Ballentine stated. “More money that would be available for businesses to expand, and to hire more people. So, you have to look at it in terms of the question, ‘What’s attracting people to this region?’” The Chinese are looking for businesses outside of China, because Chinese currency is becoming devalued. We’ve been working on this for about five or six months, and we’ve found out, there’re not enough photonics companies to bring them here solely for the photonics industry. Our original intent, and part of our intent, was to have them invest in photonics in Rochester. But, we’ve decided to open it up to other businesses. The Chinese are also interested in food manufacturing in Rochester; they’re also interested in energy-related technologies. So, right now I’m not saying to any company, ‘You’re not qualified to present to the Chinese at this point in time.’ I want to encourage any company who thinks they might be interested in receiving an investment from the Chinese investors to submit an application.”

Ballentine said he has currently asked any companies who may be interested in submitting a proposal to investors to send him a one-page description of each company’s goals, and to fill out a questionnaire. Interested individuals may also email

Applications for the event are due March 31.

Ballentine said the group is still working on cost and logistics for the event.

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