Internet Bridges Gap between U.S., China - Daley
Comerford, Mike, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Mike Comerford Daily Herald Business Writer
China may be on the other side of the world, but Commerce Secretary William Daley was in Chicago on Thursday saying the Internet has made that world a bit smaller.
Addressing a daylong conference entitled "China in the Electronic Era," Daley focused on local business ties to China and the future of the Internet as a business tool.
"All the major businesses have some connection to China," said Daley, who accompanied President Clinton on his trip earlier this year to China. "And now with the Internet, a lot of small- and mid-sized companies will have the opportunity to do business there. But there is no doubt that it is tough to do business there sometimes."
While in China, Daley and Clinton visited an Internet cafe and were told that Internet usage in China is growing at a rate of 30 percent a month.
However, Internet usage is still in its infancy there, with about 1 million users compared to more than 100 million in the United States.
The event's co-sponsors, ChinaOnline and the Chicago-Kent College of Law, both plan on using the Internet to assist American businesses with ties to China.
ChinaOnline is a Chicago-based Internet service providing business intelligence, analysis and research on China. Founded earlier this year by Chicagoan Lyric Hughes, Chinaonline.com is an English-language electronic database with daily general and business news along with travel and weather-tracking features.
Chicago-Kent has developed a new program called "China Bridge: Middle Kingdom-Mid-America." The aim of the program is to use Internet access and legal training programs to help reform China's legal system and be a resource for legal information.
"We're trying to introduce consistency and transparency," said Randy Clark, assistant director for the Global Law and Policy Initiative at Chicago-Kent. "We are hoping that by making business and legal information more available (on the Internet), more successful deals can be made."
The Internet will be used for distance learning, Clark said, and Chicago-Kent is partnering with universities in China to bring some students to Chicago for instruction. At the same time, Chicago-Kent will also hold classes for Chicago-based lawyers and business people wishing to acquaint themselves with Chinese laws and practices. …