It was nearly a month ago that President Donald Trump called on American companies to leave China. Many U.S. businesses, however, continue to see the country as a growth market despite trade tensions, so much so that the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai on Friday will open up its first San Francisco office to help facilitate exchange.
Many members say China isn’t “a market that we’re prepared to give up,” American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai President Ker Gibbs said in an interview at its headquarters on Monday, ahead of his departure for the office opening in California. “If we were to withdraw from China, we will be replaced by European or Japanese companies the next day,” he said.
“While we support the president’s more deliberate approach to China, and we understand the need for leverage, we don’t think withdrawing from the market is really the answer,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs knows China well. He first visited the country in the 1980s; he has held posts here with the Boston Consulting Group, Apple, Disney, and others. Gibbs holds degrees from UCLA and UC-Berkeley.
The new Amcham office in San Francisco will help to build bridges between the world’s two largest economies, Gibbs said. “We’ve talked to a lot of Chinese companies that are looking for connectivity to Silicon Valley. We look at Silicon Valley and see a lot of interest in the China market. It’s not just large companies that see the China market as super important. We see a lot of midcap and even smaller companies that look at the China market, and all of the trade tensions not withstanding, still see it as large, interesting and full of opportunities.”