Burnaby could be sharing wind power with Taiwan one day.
During the City of Burnaby's recent trip to Taiwan, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu asked if Burnaby could send over a bagpipe instructor, as the city would like to have a pipe band, according to Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan.
"I said, 'oh my gosh, all these Taiwanese in kilts, now that really is becoming a global world,'" Corrigan said, laughing. "We were talking about other cultural exchanges we could have."
Corrigan, three councillors, and representatives from the Burnaby Board of Trade and the Taiwan Chamber of Commerce flew to Taipei, Taiwan, on Sept. 20.
The three destinations in Taiwan were Taipei, which signed a friendship agreement with Burnaby in 2009; Taichung, which also signed a friendship agreement with the city in 2009; and Kaohsiung, which recently opened the largest solar energy plant in Taiwan.
The group also went to five destinations in China - Zhuhai, which has an economic trade agreement with the Burnaby Board of Trade; Zhongshan, which became a sister city in 2011; Shenzhen, where the delegation visited an LED light manufacturing plant, with stopovers in Hong Kong and Macau.
"It was so busy," Corrigan said. "They're very keen in Asia on these relationships and building these relationships."
But the city has to be careful to maintain the relationships it has already established, he added.
In Taichung and also in Zhongshan, China, Corrigan said he discussed how to increase communication and business relationships.
In Taiwan, the National Science Council showed interest in building relationships with science parks in Burnaby, according to Corrigan.
One of the major focuses he noticed on the trip was a draw towards environmentally conscious business practices in China and Taiwan, he added.
Paul Holden, president and CEO of the Burnaby Board of Trade, said he noticed the same thing in China.
"One thing that certainly came across to me was the fact that the city and governments over there are realizing in order for them to develop their relationships with the rest of the world, they have to develop environmental sustainability practices," he said.
Holden didn't take part in the Taiwan leg of the trip but spent a few days in Hong Kong before joining Burnaby civic and business representatives in China, he said.
"It was very informative, very interesting," Holden said of the trip.
It was Holden's first trip to Asia with the board, but he had previously lived in Hong Kong for six years, he added.
During this visit to Hong Kong he looked into training services offered by agencies that might be of interest to Burnaby businesses, Holden said.
The opportunities for successful businesses in China were evident, he added.
"With the sheer scale of everything, you just get the realization that, for somebody to be successful, you don't have to sell to everybody or have a huge market share because there's such a large audience there," he explained. "As long as you have a product people want, you can be very successful over there."
The board has compiled a comprehensive database with contact information for senior officials and companies looking to deal with companies in Western Canada, he said.
"We're looking for the best ways that we could make that information available to our members," he said.
The mayor and city representatives had their trips covered at an estimated cost of $30,900, with funds from the boards, committees and commissions budget.
The City of Burnaby last sent a delegation to Asia in October 2010, though not to the same destinations.
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