About 150 Chinese investors descended to Toledo, Ohio in September for the Five Lakes Global Economic Forum. As presidential candidates on TV admonish China as an unfriendly national competitor, this struggling Rust Belt city (population 286,000) has a mayor exchanging embroidered neckties with a delegation from Hangzhou (population 6.2 million). Why are powerful foreign investors establishing ties in Toledo, located an hour southeast of Detroit and known mostly for its former glory days as a leading glass exporter? For one, last year Chinese investors shelled out several million dollars for two waterfront sites, including one spot that had been slated for an amphitheater but which wound up with little more than a parking lot. Journalist Nancy Scola dives into the unlikely partnership to find out just how and why the small city on Maumee River is selling itself to a superpower.
- Explore how and why U.S. cities like Toledo are vying for foreign investors.
- Learn about the best practices for attracting and collaborating with new investors.
- Dive into complex questions of nationalism, pragmatism and economics facing cities working with international developers.