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     It was simply an extraordinary event. On September 22, 1998 two hundred delegates including those from the worlds of business, trade, investment, banking, multimedia, high technology, culture, art, medicine, architecture, environmental consulting, sports and fashion boarded an Air China fight from San Francisco non-stop to Shanghai, China.

     San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, always the statesman, was his usual dynamic self and walked through the entire aircraft greeting all of us before our take-off. The journey would be a "once in a lifetime event" for all of us who ever dreamed of global aspirations, as this man, promoted San Francisco in all its glory like no one has ever before. We are now back with new experiences, new friends and many stories that we will share in future pages of AsianConnections. was honored to be one of two new media ventures "bridging people, businesses and countries closer together," announced by Mayor Willie Brown in a presentation at Shanghai's Portman Ritz Carlton Hotel. AsianConnections team members, including its co-founders, Michael Kai, Suzanne Kai, and Jeannie Joe were among the official delegates. Skyrocket-China, a new media venture for digital media communications and entertainment development led by San Francisco multimedia leader April Minnich was announced by Mayor Brown.

     There were dozens of ground breaking business meetings where experts from China and the U.S. shared the latest in their respective fields. Delegates toured Chinese industries from media, to health care facilities to schools and libraries.

     San Francisco brought an entire woman's soccer team, two rousing, hand clapping blues, spiritual and gospel singing choirs, and a Championship Go Team. Seven tons of books were presented by the SF-Shanghai Sister City Committee to the Shanghai Library.

     A full-size working cable car was presented to the City of Shanghai, complete with a musical demonstration from the cable car bell ringing winner. There was a San Francisco Film Festival hosted at the Shanghai Film Institute. A San Francisco Food and Wine Festival hosted Shanghai citizens complete with dungeness crab cakes, sushi, California-Mexican, Chinese, Italian, French, and of course, wine tasting from California's finest wines.

     World famous Shanghai International Models saluted the delegates with a fashion show featuring China's renowned designers. And an inspiring update of the successful results of the Business Management Program started twelve years ago to provide more than 100 executives from Shanghai the opportunity to gain work experience in an American environment. Today many of these individuals who received work experience in San Francisco are high level executives within China' leading industries.

     AsianConnections co-founder Michael Kai at China's State owned television and media center, with Ms. Esther Hwang, who has a diverse career as staff member of the San Francisco Mayor's Office and is also a professional model and beauty queen (Miss Asian America, Miss San Francisco and top runner-up for Miss California!).

     Many thanks to the organizers of this mega-event to "San Francisco Week in Shanghai" Chairman James Fang, President of Asian Week, legendary Mrs. Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, Chief of Protocol; Ms. Melinda Yee, Director, Mayor's Office of International Trade and Commerce; the Trade and Commerce's Mark Chandler; and dozens of hard working dedicated staff and volunteers of the Office of Mayor and numerous city business leaders and organizations.

     Co-founders of the historic San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City relationship, former Supervisor Thomas Hsieh and wife Jeannette.




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