In 2011, China surpassed Japan to become the world’s #2 economy based on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), second only to the United States. That was a very significant event for America, since it means that we now need to shift the focus of our international trade to China, and significantly increase our export to this emerging and largest market in the world as well.

For Tennessee, China is currently ranked 3rd in the amount of trade it does with our state, exceeded only by Canada and Mexico. Each year, TN trades $1.3 billion worth of goods with China. However, though this number is impressive, it is in fact still quite insignificant compared to what the US imports from China annually ($250 billion).

The number one priority of businesses of yesterday was internal, i.e., how to make a product. However, the number one priority of businesses today is external, i.e., how to sell a product. A company today can not be successful if it can not sell its product. And accordingly, a country can not be successful either if it can not export its product. And, the first step in selling a product is to understand customers and that is where America is falling short. While the rest of the world is studying hard about us, we have been largely uninterested in understanding them, who they are and what they need. Understanding other cultures and people is no longer the right thing to do as a world citizen, it is an economic necessity now since the people in the rest of the world are our customers now!

Written by Juanita Cousins, March 25, 2011, on Tennessean.com

Ming Wang’s story of success is a textbook case for the New Nashville Business Alliance.
“I arrived in this country in 1982 as a foreign student who knew no one, and had only $50 in my pocket but a big American dream in my heart,” Wang said. “America is an immigrant country from the Mayflower to Ellis Island. All immigrants have benefited by coming to America and enjoying a free society of choice, but now immigrants have the obligation to contribute back to America’s economy to help it become a stronger and better place.”

He studied at Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now works from his West End Avenue office as an eye surgeon.

Immigrant businesses have had a positive impact on our country and economy. In fact, the United States has always been an immigrant country, and has been a society known to the rest of the world for its openness, fairness, freedom and choice.

When I arrived in this country in 1982 as a student who knew no one, and had only $50 in my pocket but a big American dream in my heart, one of the things that impressed me the most in America was the saying: "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to my death your right to say it.'' America is a magnet for immigrants from all over the world because it gives everyone an opportunity.

Ming Wang, M.D., Ph.D.

Founding president, Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce (www.tccc.us)

International president, Shanghai Aier Eye Hospital (www.aier021.com)

Director, Wang Vision Cataract and LASIK Center

Clinical associate professor of ophthalmology, University of Tennessee

Immigration has continuously had a positive impact on our country, and has been vital to our economic growth. In fact, the United States of America has always been an immigrant country, from our founding fathers that came to this country on the Mayflower to European immigrants who came through Ellis Island to the more recent immigrants from Far East countries, South America and other continents.