WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer will be in China next week for the opening of a privately funded trade office tasked with promoting Wichita's aviation industry.
The trade office's mission will be to identify sales and partnering opportunities, the Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/19vG7G7) reported, with the hopes that the Chinese think about Wichita first when considering developing aviation.
The office in Beijing will work to connect Wichita and China businesses for parts, maintenance and other products and services.
"There's a lot of opportunities for us to be able to sell a lot of planes in China based on their long-range plans," Brewer said. "We're trying to take an aggressive approach."
The Beijing office is a pilot project initially budgeted at $300,000 to $500,000, said Karyn Page, president of Kansas Global Trade Services. It will be funded by private sponsors in China and Wichita with oversight by Kansas Global Trade Services.
Fundraising began just three weeks ago, but Beechcraft and Cessna Aircraft already have donated enough to fund the program for the first year, Page said.
"We need to be in the game of international trade, and this trip reflects our dedication to helping Wichita companies expand their export opportunities," Brewer said.
When Wichita businesses visit China, they will have a representative to help them make contacts and connections, he said. The Chinese will have a place to turn as well.
The office will also work to help companies protect their intellectual property.
"One of the greatest concerns that Americans have when doing business abroad is intellectual property protection," Page said. "There are actions that a company can take to mitigate it. ... We'll work with them."
Eventually, the goal is to grow and spread awareness of Wichita's aviation sector across more of China.