Twomonthold China Sourcing Center Luring Eager Buyers To Miami Free Zone
By Zachary S. Fagenson
Though he wouldn’t reveal exactly how much business the China Sourcing Center has done since its 3,000-square-foot showroom opened Aug. 10, Managing Director Frank Cao said it’s drawing about 30 visitors and 50 to 60 calls daily.
The showroom offers just a small glimpse of the offerings of 600,000 Chinese manufacturers’ millions of products in the heart of the Miami Free Zone.
The center’s parent company, Globelink China Logistics Co., is a Shanghai-based logistics and freight forwarding firm that opened the showroom in an effort to penetrate Caribbean and Latin America markets.
Analysts have said Latin American economies fared better than most during the worldwide downturn thanks to smaller investments in many of the US securities that were wiped out during the recession.
Now, the Chinese are looking to take advantage of the perceived strength and seem to be using Miami as base.
"We have seen that trade between China and Latin America grow over eight years, from 2003 to 2010, from $10 billion to $140 billion" annually, Mr. Cao said in a previous interview. "We decided to set up a sourcing center… [because] Miami is the most ideal position for China’s products to be shown."
Along with the Miami showroom and Shanghai headquarters, Globelink maintains offices in Guangzhou to help coordinate between manufacturers and distributors. Guangzhou lies in the Pearl River Delta, a geographic region that about 48 million Chinese call home with a gross industrial output of about $195 billion, according to the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of Guangdong Province.
Along with the Caribbean Islands, Mr. Cao said the company is primarily targeting Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela, and though it won’t be setting up offices there or similar showrooms it is "developing local contacts in those countries."
The center has received calls from businesses in Tampa and Orlando as well as Jamaica and Colombia and has received orders for everything from candles, woven bags and suitcases to industrial machinery, he said.
Additionally, he said, it’s received interest in such products as in electronics, fashion, jewelry, tiles and ceramics and lighting products.
Miami’s total trade with China in 2009 came in at about $3.9 billion, a 15.5% drop from the year before, according to a WorldCity analysis of US Census data. Advertisement