Another part of the annual support from Nanshan will be directed toward Purdue's Office of International Programs and its China Center, which supports the University's China initiatives through developing and nurturing long-term relationships.

"Educators and business leaders with whom we have been working with at Nanshan are appreciative that Purdue has a center that focuses on China,” says Cai, the center’s director. “As a service organization within International Programs, the center shares knowledge with the Purdue campus and community on the dynamics of fast-changing China."

Du and Jianbo Song, chairman of Nanshan, also are looking forward to the mutual benefits. “We are pleased with this partnership because of the brand-name recognition that Purdue has in China and around the world," says Song. "These collaborations and interactions will engage our company in the local and campus communities.”

New economic realities

The entry of Nanshan and other Chinese companies into the U.S. market is representative of what some experts believe is a fundamental reallocation of global manufacturing that will ultimately benefit both countries.

According to an analysis by the Boston Consulting Group, “by sometime around 2015 — for many goods destined for North American consumers –– manufacturing in some parts of the U.S. will be just as economical as manufacturing in China.”

For Nanshan America, the time is now.


From left: Lijun Du, president of Nanshan America, and Jianbo Song, chairman of Nanshan Group, and other company officials meet with delegates from Purdue and Lafayette-West Lafayette on a visit to Nanshan's corporate headquarters in Shanghai, China. (Photo provided)

Within the aluminum industry, Du says, investing in the U.S. allows for the use of better technology and a more skilled workforce than what’s available in China. That results in a higher-quality, more environmentally efficient product that costs 30 to 50 percent less to manufacture. “I like those numbers,” he says.

For Chinese companies, however, the transition is both financial and philosophical.

“The rules and government oversight for doing business in China are much different than those for doing business in the U.S.,” Du says. “To compete and be successful here, we have to understand those differences, but we can’t look at Chinese business and American business separately. To me, they are parts of a whole. They are interdependent.

“I understand there are a lot of concerns in both countries about issues like outsourcing and trade deficits, which can create unhealthy competition. But our investment here is creating healthy competition.

“It is bringing new jobs, new technology and new operational processes. That kind of competition encourages the industry to become greener and more efficient and to provide better products to customers. That’s good for everyone.”

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