The Global Innovation Exchange will increase Seattle’s influence in China according to University of Washington president Ana Marie Cauce. With more trade opportunities opening up every day between Washington state and China, this new technology graduate program will be the first of its kind similar to China’s version of MIT. This will help establish the Seattle area as one of the world’s most consequential economics.
UW president says it is vital to engage in China and find ways to work with them productively. This $40 million investment from Microsoft, UW and China’s Tsinghua University will create a partnership between China and Washington state. GIX or the Global Innovation Exchange will occupy a 100,000 square-foot office space in Bellevue’s Spring District. The goal is to enroll 3000 graduate students into the program before 2025. In addition to multiple benefits for the Bellevue area, it will attract technology talent from around the world continuing to grow Seattle’s stamp on the industry, similar to what Stanford was to Silicon Valley.
The state of Washington has a stronger trade relationship with China than any other state and this new graduate program should increase China’s investment in the Puget Sound region exponentially. Chinese investors meant more than $20 billion on Washington state goods.
Although GIX should improve the United States and Chinese relationships, Seattle’s technology companies still struggle to break into the Chinese market and interact with future Chinese leaders. Communication is key and the graduate program will put “China and the US into constant contact with people moving from one direction to another much more frequently”.
The Puget Sound region has already made a viable impact on one of the largest technology companies in the world, Alibaba, where founder Jack Ma had his first encounter with the Internet during a visit to Seattle in 1995. In November he stated that “without Seattle, there would be no Alibaba.” The company opened their Seattle office over the last year and purchased $56 million worth of stake in Seattle’s e-commerce company Zulily, before the retail giant was acquired by QVC. China’s president Xi Jinping stated in September that he prefers Alibaba to be an example for Chinese and US relations. China’s destined to open up wider communication with the outside world but there has to be a driving force otherwise there would be no progress.
The Puget Sound and specifically Seattle area companies will be uniquely positioned to benefit from the communication and partnership with China. The graduate program will likely train future leaders in the US and from China breaking down barriers for communication between Puget Sound companies and China.