THE GOLD STANDARD AWARD FOR COUNTRY OR TRADE PROMOTION
The Winner: APCO Worldwide: APCO China’s Work for the Missouri Department of Economic Development
APCO’s Hong Kong and Shanghai offices have been retained by the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) since November of 2014 to represent the state in trade and investment in Greater China, with remarkable success.
APCO’s support has helped 70 small-to-medium-sized Missouri companies, including some new to the export business or the Chinese market, earn millions of dollars in additional revenue and create or retain hundreds of jobs. The companies achieved export sales of $482,000 in FY2015 but the figure was more than seven times higher at $3,582,000 in FY2016. The companies assisted have provided positive feedback and many have returned to APCO for further assistance.
Acting as Missouri DED’s International Trade and Investment Office (ITI) in Greater China, APCO provides a full range of services, including market research, market entry suggestions, a search for agents or distributors, business meeting arrangement and facilitation, and trade show support.
It does due diligence checks on Chinese companies that approach or are approached by Missouri companies in order to avoid the risk of commercial fraud or to assess the business strength of potential partners. APCO is also tasked with positioning Missouri as an investment destination for selected Chinese industries.
The feedback on all fronts has been positive: “Anyone considering exporting or new partnerships abroad should consider the services that ITI provides in identifying, performing due diligence and general counselling for local companies,” one testimonial read.
Missouri DED, APCO’s direct client, has renewed its contact for two consecutive years and in the performance evaluation conducted by DED at the end of the 2016 fiscal year, APCO scored highly for effectiveness – 95 out of 100.
The work goes beyond industry: last year APCO helped a Missouri university delegation participate in the China Education Expo and helped raise awareness of Missouri’s universities among Chinese students and parents, promoting the state as an ideal destination for overseas study.
The award was presented by KKR’s Director of Public Affairs, Steve Okun, to APCO’s Kenon Tan at the gala reception in Hong Kong on December 1