Saturday, July 10, 1999

Venture would bring
Chinese elite to UH

By Susan Kreifels


The University of Hawaii at Manoa is hoping to get 60 of South China's best and brightest senior leaders -- from judges and bureaucrats to business leaders -- to study in specially tailored programs over the next five years.

And they'll come with money in hand. State officials are hoping UH's price is right.

An official group from the southern province of Guangdong, one of the most prosperous regions in China, recently signed a memorandum of agreement with UH-Manoa.

Chuck Gee, dean of both the College of Business Administration and the School of Travel Industry Management, said the sides agreed in principle but had not determined a price tag for the special program.

Gee said he expected the venture to be profitable, bringing in close to $1.2 million to the university over five years and $2 million in total spending to the state.

"The attendees are decision-makers," Gee said. "This is a good connection for Hawaii. We want that relationship with China and they want the training. Business is flourishing there but they need to bring their executives up to par to deal in the international arena."

Gee said a final decision should come quickly. "They would not have signed off on this if they didn't intend for it to go somewhere."

Each of the 12 students a year would pay $20,000 in tuition for the specially designed program -- the same charged for UH-Manoa's executive master's degree in business administration, a weekend program tailored for working professionals.

Gee estimated the Chinese students would spend an additional $12,000 to $15,000 on living expenses.

C. Richard Fassler, an economic development specialist with the state's Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism, said the 60 positions were very competitive among Chinese leaders.

The Guangdong government, which is footing the bill, will also send executives to Massachusetts and British Columbia, Canada, where it has sister-state relationships as it does here.

Fassler said the Chinese delegation originally had offered to pay $20,000 a year total for tuition and living expenses. The group also visited schools on the mainland such as Stanford, Harvard and Yale universities.

Fassler said 40 percent of China's exports come from Guangdong.

"We want this to work," Fassler said. "Guangdong is a major player."

Fassler said Hawaii has the culture, history and tradition to be a good choice for the Chinese. A Guangdong group also recently aired a four-segment TV special on Hawaii, which he said should give the state a competitive advantage.

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