Skelton takes business development trip to Japan and Taiwan


Mike Skelton, director, Mayor’s Office of International Business, attended the third SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. June 19-21 sponsored by the US Department of Commerce in order to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the U.S. The event attendance was 2,400 people, half of which were U.S. state and local economic development agencies and half foreign companies in delegations sponsored by U.S. Ambassadors from 70 countries. While there he had five face to face meetings with FDI prospect companies and a meeting with Mr. Nozomu Takaoka, former Consul General of Japan in Houston, who is now the Japanese Executive Director of the new Japanese SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) Support Office, a globalization project which focuses on the U.S. as a destination market for Japanese SMEs.


The founder and President of the Small and Medium Business Development Chamber of India visited Richardson September 15-19. Meetings were set up with various business leaders and economic development staff to develop a business relationship between our organizations and help Indian SMB companies set up their US operation in Richardson. Our Indian guest met with Mayor Paul Voelker and City management, Bill Sproull, Charlie Chen, George Brody and RCC International Concierge Committee Tri-Chairs. He also attended the Tech Titans Innovation Team “Next Big Thing” speaker series meeting on September 15 and networked with several Tech Titans members. A MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) is being drafted to formalize the bi-lateral relationship to bring Indian SMB companies to Richardson and to help Richardson and Tech Titans companies do business in India.


The RCC International Concierge Committee, the Tech Titans Programs Committee and Reading UK CIC (Richardson’s UK economic development partner) collaborated on producing the speaker and panel discussion entitled “Brexit: End of the World or a Great Business Opportunity” on September 30. The event was hosted at Cisco’s telepresence room in Richardson with a live video connection with Cisco’s Reading, England office. The event featured the following: The Honorable Karen Bell, UK Consul General from Houston, Mark Wynne, Senior Economist of the Dallas Federal Reserve, Chris Dodson, CEO of Tortech Group, and Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director of the Reading UK Community Interest Company. After the keynote addresses a panel discussion was held with Dennis McCuistion, Professor at UT Dallas and host of the PBS program the McCuistion Show as moderator and panelists Chris McFarland, CEO of Masergy Communications, Harold Clarke, UT Dallas Professor, and Greg Webb, Partner at Haynes & Boone law firm. 60 people attended the two-and-a-half-hour event in Richardson as well as 12 in Reading.


Skelton participated in the TexasOne delegation visit to Japan October 2-6. The delegation hosted two receptions and a lunch seminar in Tokyo during the visit, which attracted over 300 Japanese company executives interested in learning about Texas as a location to expand their business in the U.S. While in Tokyo, the delegation also visited the U.S. Embassy to meet with SelectUSA officials, the headquarters of the Central Japan Railway Company that is working with Texas to build a high speed rail system from Dallas to Houston.


The DFW contingent of the TexasOne delegation with Aichi Governor Ohmura. Left to right: Joe Chaparral, Irving Chamber of Commerce; Sally Bane, Plano Economic Development; Governor Ohmura, Harry Whalen, Frisco Economic Development; Mike Skelton

The delegation also visited Aichi Prefecture, a one-and-a-half-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo, to meet with Governor Hideaki Ohmura, as a follow up to Texas Governor Greg Abbott signing an MOU with Governor Ohmura in April. Aichi Prefecture is the home of Toyota’s and Mitsubishi Aircraft Company’s. Japan headquarters, both of whom have established a presence in North Texas. 


After the TexasOne delegation ended, Skelton stayed in Japan and made visits to several potential FDI prospects and partners who can provide FDI leads. Included in the meetings were: the city of Ota, Japan’s Industrial Promotion Organization that has the highest concentration of SME manufacturing companies in the Tokyo area; the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry; the General Manager of KDDI Corporation Global ICT Business Division (Japan’s second largest telecom company next to NTT); Hitachi Water Systems management team and executives from Fujitsu Network Communications that has a large Richardson operation. Skelton also met with CEOs of Japanese companies Miura Corporation and Shikino High Tech that have plans to open offices in U.S., and attended the CEATEC ICT conference in Tokyo to meet with Japan SelectUSA reps and visit the booths of Japanese companies with Richardson offices.


As a follow up to a meeting Skelton had at the SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C. in June, he again met with Mr. Nozomu Takaoka, Managing Director of the Japanese SME Support Office and former Japanese Consul General in Houston. Mr. Takaoka and Skelton discussed establishment of a pilot program between Richardson and the SME Support Office to assist Japanese SMEs to expand their business into the U.S. through Richardson.


After the Japan portion of the FDI trip, Skelton flew to Taipei, Taiwan and attended business meetings October 13-15 arranged and accompanied by Charlie Chen, 2015 RCC Chairman.  Charlie arranged meetings with officials of the Taiwanese Overseas Community Affairs Council, executives of Winstron, an ACER Computer Company spin-off high tech repair company with operations in DFW, officials at the US Commercial Service/SelectUSA Taiwan office, and the HsinChu Science Park. 

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