A recent trip to China could bring business to Huntersville. The town's mayor spent 10 days learning about opportunities to get Chinese companies to open factories in the town. Eyewitness News found out what the trip could mean for the town's economic development.
On her first day back at the office, Huntersville Mayor Jill Swain had this to say about her recent trip to China:
"This may well have been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," said Swain.
Swain just got back from her 10-day trip Saturday night. The purpose of her trip was to develop relationships with Chinese corporations with the hopes they might be interested in one day doing business in Huntersville.
Swain says Huntersville is a prime location for new business because of its location, its access to the airport and its availability of bright minds. Business is already being done there by international companies like ABB and Daetwyler, from Sweden, and German manufacturer Saertex, to name a few. She says a Chinese corporation would diversify the city's tax base and create jobs.
"We reached into an extraordinary amount of communities and one-on-one time with corporate leaders," she said.
Swain says the trip was all about networking. She says her group trekked 25,000 miles going from business to business.
"I quit counting the number of business cards that I had collected, in all of our special meetings, at 67," she said.
The Town Board approved a budget amendment of $6,000 to pay for Swain's trip. While residents Eyewitness News spoke to support the idea of new jobs, opinions about where they come from were mixed.
"I think first, U.S. companies would be better, but jobs are jobs, and I'm sure anyone would take anything they could get," said resident Lauren Gabriele.
Swain says it may be a couple of years before anything happens, but she says she's laid the groundwork for a new relationship she knows will one day pay off.
Swain was one of six town leaders from the U.S. on the trip but the only mayor from North Carolina and the only woman.