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.
AsianConnections.com 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.