In opening remarks at the WSA Investment Forum at the Bell Harbor Conference Center this morning, the technology industry association announced a partnership with the Shenzhen Software Industries Association (SSIA) in China.
As part of the partnership, WSA will open an office in the city in the next couple of months to support the partnership.
Ken Myer, the WSA's president and CEO, said the office will help Washington state companies work with the high-tech city in China, and assist in creating business opportunities, such as distribution, manufacturing and investing.
Former Gov. Gary Locke, known for his diplomatic work in China, also spoke this morning, saying the partnership will be great for Washington companies.
"Shenzhen is an incredible city. A few years ago it was a hamlet, and now it's a very planned city with tree-lined boulevards, where they have dedicated open space and beautiful architecture," he said. "It's also very young city with young people, highly educated people.
"This collaboration and joint office is going to be an opportunity to help position Washington companies in Shenzhen and Southeast China. The WSA has that foresight in helping the membership of the WSA, not just locally, and in the rest of the U.S., but in thinking of the globe as an eventual market."
The Shenzen Longgang District Government and Pacific Prestige -- a property development company that will host the WSA's Shenzhen office -- also signed the partnership.
Qiu Chang Miao, the SSIA's vice chair, also made an appearance at the event.
"We believe this is an important forward-looking decision. Compared to Washington, Shenzhen software industry is still in early stages. It has great potential," he said.
The WSA Investment Forum continues until 6 p.m. today with a panel discussion on trends and innovation followed by break-out sessions where startup companies have the opportunity to pitch venture capitalists and industry executives.