Wegmans Food Market flagship store in Pittsford New York recently launched a series of healthy home-style Chinese foods in collaboration with China’s leading hypermarket retail enterprise, the Beijing Hualian Group Investment Holding Co., LTD. BHG Chairman Ji Xiao An and his innovation team led by Frank Ji oversaw the development and training of Chinese culinary dishes for the chefs at Wegmans. Ready to eat foods emphasize authentic, nutritious and tasty dishes including Shiitake Mushroom Congée, Sichuan Style Dandan Noodles and Chinese Barbequed Pork. Catering to the ever-growing international palate of Wegman’s customers, their newly renovated Asian foods pantry now stock a wide variety of fresh Chinese youchoy and bokchoy greens, Daikon icicle radishes and select varieties of bulk long-grain and short grain rice.
BHG Beijing Hualian Group Investment Holding Co.,Ltd. is a leading multinational global enterprise as one of the 15 largest retail enterprises supported by the China Ministry of Commerce including primary membership in the International Association of Department Stores (IADS), and two publicly listed companies and several holding companies. BHG Group’s business is focused on hypermarkets, supermarkets, department stores and commercial properties. BHG is established in more than 80 hypermarkets in 35 key cities and 23 provinces across China and the Pacific Rim countries. The Beijing Hualian Group values customers first and foremost. Their core business principles include integrity in all relationships — with employees, customers, suppliers and cooperating partners. “We seek to maintain and grow our company’s high recognition and reputation, and made “Beijing Hualian” a prestigious brand in the country” and now earmarked as a prestige global brand.
China is now the fastest growing global economy, ranked second only to the U.S. as the world’s largest economy. The new visa accord established between U.S and China will enhance trade, investment, and business ties by facilitating travel and ease access to both economies. Extended validity visas for students and exchange visitors will foster the bonds between U.S. and China and facilitate travel for outstanding students from around the world who attend U.S. institutions of higher education. As a result of this arrangement, the U.S. hopes to welcome a growing share of eligible Chinese travelers, inject billions in the U.S. economy and create demand to support hundreds of thousands of additional U.S. jobs. Global growth of outbound travel from China represents an unprecedented opportunity to foster job creation across the country. China is the fastest growing outbound tourism market in the world, and Chinese visitors have accounted for 20 percent of the growth in overseas travel to the U.S. As incomes in China continue to rise, the number of Chinese citizens able to afford international travel and tourism is projected to more than double over the next few years, reaching the hundreds of millions. Close to 7.3 million Chinese are projected to travel to the U.S. by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the economy and supporting 440,000 jobs.
U.S. President Obama traveled to China and met with China President Xi Jinping to effect a reciprocal visa validity arrangement to broaden and fortify economic and people-to-people ties. Both countries mutually agreed to increase the validity of short-term tourist and business visas issued to each other’s citizens from one to ten years – the longest validity possible under U.S. law – and increase the validity of student and exchange visas from one to five years. The U.S began issuing visas in accordance with the new reciprocal agreement on November 12, 2014. The visa accord will enhance trade, investment, and business ties by facilitating travel and ease access to both economies. Extended validity visas for students and exchange visitors will foster the bonds between U.S. and China and facilitate travel for outstanding students from around the world who attend U.S. institutions of higher education. As a result of this arrangement, the U.S. hopes to welcome a growing share of eligible Chinese travelers, inject billions in the U.S. economy and create demand to support hundreds of thousands of additional U.S. jobs.
Welcoming a Growing Share of Chinese Travelers
- China is the fastest-growing outbound tourism market in the world, and in 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S., contributing $21.1 billion to the U.S. economy and supporting more than 109,000 American jobs
- Chinese travelers consistently rank the United States as their most-desired travel destination, yet less than 2 percent of total Chinese travelers come to the U.S.
- Chinese travelers cite ease of visa policies as the second most important factor in deciding where to travel, behind only cost
- A competitive visa policy will help U.S. meet projections that suggest as many as 7.3 million Chinese travelers will come to the U.S. by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the economy and supporting up to 440,000 U.S. jobs
Strengthening Bonds Between Chinese and American Students
- 28 percent of all foreign students and exchange visitors in the U.S. originate from China
- Chinese students in the U.S. spent $8 billion in 2013, an increase of nearly 24 percent over the previous year
- Visa accord will allow American and Chinese students to more easily travel back and forth, making foreign study a more attractive option, increasing opportunities for people-to-people ties, and boosting mutual understanding
Extending Visa Validity to Increase the Number of Chinese Travelers Coming to the U.S. and Support American Jobs. In order to support America’s most important and largest services export – tourism. Chinese travelers persistently rank the U.S. as their top desired travel destination, but only slightly more than 1.8 percent of total outbound travelers go to the U.S. Chinese travelers cite ease of visa policies as the second most important factor in deciding where to travel, behind only cost. A competitive visa policy is needed to secure the U.S. as the chosen destination for millions of Chinese travelers
Global growth of outbound travel from China represents an unprecedented opportunity to foster job creation across the country. China is the fastest growing outbound tourism market in the world, and Chinese visitors have accounted for 20 percent of the growth in overseas travel to the U.S. since 2008. In 2013, 1.8 million Chinese travelers visited the U.S., contributing $21.1 billion to the American economy and supporting more than 109,000 U.S. jobs. As incomes in China continue to rise, the number of Chinese citizens able to afford international travel and tourism is projected to more than double over the next few years, reaching the hundreds of millions. Close to 7.3 million Chinese are projected to travel to the U.S. by 2021, contributing nearly $85 billion a year to the economy and supporting 440,000 jobs.
Increasing business travel will support the U.S. President’s goal of increasing exports. Increasing visa validity for U.S. citizens traveling to China makes it easier to respond to market and commercial opportunities in China, helping to boost U.S. exports, foster increased trade ties, and improve commercial linkages between U.S. and Chinese firms. In the near term, extending visa validity for Chinese business travelers will also help meet the President’s Select USA goal of boosting inward investment into the United States as the U.S. travel and tourism industry commits to making upfront investments in new hotels and other infrastructure in anticipation of a rise in Chinese inbound travel.
Asian American Journalists Association proudly celebrated their 25th Annual Scholarship and Gala with keynote speakers Pulitzer Prize award winning journalist José Antonio Vargas and Presidential Advisory Council Commissioner and actor Maulik Pancholy.
José Antonio Vargas spoke of his dilemma of his recent detainment at the Texas border as an undocumented immigrant and coming out of the closet as a gay man to his grandmother. He is a highly acclaimed and controversial journalist and documentary film writer, producing visual and editorial commentary impacting AIDS and immigration policies in the U.S. Vargas’ national and international appearances include Nightline, The O’Reilly Factor and The Colbert Report.
Maulik Pancholy’s accolades include the popular roles he portrayed as Jonathan in the award winning comedy tv show 30 Rock and Showtime’s award winning Weeds as Sanjay. His recent appointment as Commissioner on the President’s Advisory Council of the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders brings to focus the social disparities and stereotypes AAPI still encounter and address the issue of bullying in new social media.
AAJA also launched their inaugural Media Institute Fellows Program led by renowned media experts Pamela Wu, Emmy nominated former news anchor & television host; and Ellen Lee, freelance journalist and former staff writer at the San Francisco Chronicle. Distinguished speakers included Jan Yanehiro, Emmy award winning national broadcast journalist and author; Sharon Pian Chan, associate opinions and digital editor of the Seattle Times; Cefann Kim, general assignment, live newscast reporter, broadcast journalism NYC; and Chris Nguyen, anchor and breaking news reporter, Sacramento CA. The Media Institute Fellows Program was sponsored by Gannett, General Motors, and funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
For over two decades MacKenzie-Childs Creative Director Rebecca Proctor, leads the iconic global brand of the MacKenzie-Childs design team. They introduce upward 700 items each year, emulating the artisan-handpainted pottery creations at its production studios in bucolic Aurora, New York. “We have artists and poets and all kinds of talented people there,” Proctor said of the company, which has its headquarters on a 65 acre farm nestled in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region in Central Upstate New York.
MacKenzie-Childs Creative Director Rebecca Proctor began working with the collection in 1991 and looks back on it as the most incredible opportunity of her life. “I was hired by the founders of MacKenzie-Childs and I got a very interesting inside view of the brand traveling and working with them,” Proctor said. “They left the company in 2001 and then Pleasant Rowland, founder of American Girl, bought us. I was also excited to work with her. Then in 2008 Rowland sold MacKenzie-Childs to Lee Feldman and Howard Cohen and they are wonderful to work with as well. They’re so supportive of the design process and they’ve really taken a tabletop company to an exciting lifestyle brand.”
Working swiftly and growing every season, the collection went from launching 24 designs a season to an impressive 300 new items. This is no accident. The brand is overflowing with magical qualities just like Proctor herself. Design rules are tossed out the window, patterns are mixed with cheerful spontaneity and the passion of the MacKenzie-Childs collector is unceasing.
“The world is filled with stuff you can find anywhere,” Proctor said. “Our point of view with this brand really sets us apart. Our customers say our designs make them happy. Making people feel good is the core of our mission and it’s really important to me. They come to us for playful creations. We’re the court jester in the room.”
There’s something very regal about the line’s iconic black and white checkerboard pattern called “courtly check.”
“This pattern started as a tiny design accent painted on furniture in the ‘80s,” Proctor said. “In 1993, I started working with the founders on handmade black and white checkered enamel plates. We love handmade things at MacKenzie-Childs because no two are alike. We originally called the pattern ‘roasted marshmallow.’ Now we call it courtly check and it’s become our signature pattern. This pattern has a major place in history and it’s beautiful but at the same time, oddly a neutral.”
In addition to courtly check, MacKenzie-Childs offers a variety of enchanting patterns for enamelware and accessories such as a vibrant flower market pattern and piccadilly ceramics. The Aurora pattern is an homage to the brand’s home-base and production studio that was once a dairy barn in Aurora. “We have highland cattle grazing on our fields and extraordinary gardens. Every window is like a framed piece of art,” Proctor said. “This 65-acre farm is a tremendous source of inspiration for us. We have a fantastic design team with high energy people. Many of them have also been with the brand since 1991. Inspiration is every where. It comes from dinners and conversations with friends and travel as well.”
The latest pattern to take flight in the MacKenzie-Childs family is the butterfly garden enamelware. “This pattern was inspired by the gardens on our property filled with butterflies and we wanted to incorporate all of our other patterns into the butterflies,” Proctor said. “I love to cook and entertain and when you place food on a plate, you want the food to be the star. With the butterfly garden enamelware, the butterflies appear to be fluttering around the plate.”
In addition to charm bracelets and travel accessories, MacKenzie-Childs is now tapping into the young mother’s market. “We’ve introduced a diaper bag, nursery items and baby dishes,” Proctor said. “We also make beautiful, hand-sewn quilts for cribs. It’s a really exciting time for us. Our owners are so open minded, the sky is really the limit for MacKenzie-Childs.” http://www.mackenzie-childs.com Excerpts adapted from the SunSentinel.com article by Joanie Cox-Henry