Mayor Breed to Travel to China with API Delegation to Strengthen Economic Connections and Bolster Cultural Ties

Mayor to meet with business and university leaders, airlines, and local leaders in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai
April 10, 2024

San Francisco, CA — On Saturday, Mayor London N. Breed will depart for China, where she and a delegation of San Francisco-based API business and community leaders will embark on a multi-city tour, to meet with businesses, airlines and local leaders in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai before returning to San Francisco on Sunday, April 21.  

This visit represents a monumental opportunity for San Francisco to stimulate economic growth, expand the City’s tourism market, and bolster diplomatic relations and cultural ties across the region in China, with a goal of bringing new businesses and industry to San Francisco’s Downtown neighborhoods and across the City, including Chinatown, Richmond, the Sunset and Visitacion Valley. The Mayor's trip also marks the 45th anniversary of the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City relationship. 

Mayor Breed was formally invited by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., Xie Feng, when San Francisco hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) last year in November. The invitation was also extended by the Chinese Consulate and Minister Liu Jianchao of the International Liaison Department in China. 

“I am honored to be invited to travel to China and meet with leaders in business, innovation, and government to cultivate economic opportunities and strengthen ties between San Francisco and cities across the region,” said Mayor Breed. “Our Chinese and Chinese American communities are core to the fabric of our City and have greatly contributed to San Francisco’s rich history and economic vitality. Building on the success of APEC last November, it is critical that we continue to build on that momentum to strengthen San Francisco’s international partnerships and maximize economic and business opportunities that are so valuable for San Francisco’s future.” 

Stimulating Economic Growth 

Building on the Mayor’s Roadmap to San Francisco’s Future, the City is working aggressively to ramp up efforts to reinvigorate Downtown and reaffirm San Francisco as a thriving global destination, center of innovation and the Bay Area’s economy. Key components to this strategy include bringing international brands and technology to San Francisco. For example, while in Guangzhou, the Mayor will meet with various Chinese-based businesses such as CVTE, which specialize in cutting edge technologies and products in both consumer-grade and commercial electronics industries. The Mayor will meet with AmCham China, the American Chamber of Commerce in the People’s Republic of China that comprises of tens of thousands of members from nearly 1,000 companies operating in China. 

Part of the Mayor’s vision for a vibrant future is laid out in her 30 by 30 plan – adding 30,000 more residents and students to San Francisco’s Downtown by 2030.  Part of this strategy includes creating stronger relationships and identifying educational opportunities. In Shanghai, Mayor Breed will visit with leadership and staff at Fudan University, a leading research University based in Shanghai.  

Expanding Tourism  

Travel trade, including tourism and the expansion of airline partners and routes, is essential to the economic well-being of San Francisco and the Bay Area. Mayor Breed will be joined by leadership from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and San Francisco Travel to meet with airline executives at Shenzhen Airlines, Air China, and Hainan Airlines, as well as meeting with various local enterprises interested in expansion into San Francisco.   

Last year, San Francisco International Airport (SFO), served over 50 million passengers, up 18.7% from 2022, and saw nonstop service from China resume with Air China, China Eastern Airlines, and China Southern Airlines flying from Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan. SF Travel forecasts growth in visitation and overall visitor spending in 2024, driven primarily by increased leisure and business travel. 

Bolstering Diplomatic Relations and Cultural Ties 

Mayor Breed will be meeting with local government officials in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai, and Nicholas Burns, U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China in Beijing. 

In addition to advancing economic opportunities and diplomatic relations as key components to the Mayor’s time in China, visiting Shenzhen and Guangzhou offers cultural significance with many in San Francisco’s API community, who have ties in the southern region of China. Mayor Breed’s trip also marks the 45th anniversary of the San Francisco Shanghai Sister City relationship, which is the first established U.S.- China Sister City relationship. The Mayor of Shanghai is expected to travel to San Francisco in May.  

“As we build toward the full recovery of San Francisco's tourism and hospitality industry, the Mayor’s trip to China could not be more important," said Scott Beck, President and CEO of San Francisco Travel.  “A critical part of rebuilding visitation from China is building back air service to the San Francisco International Airport, and bolstering connections with travel and aviation partners is key to attracting Chinese visitors to San Francisco. It is also imperative we strengthen relationships and create opportunities for growth with our counterparts in China, which will help significantly boost the City’s economy and meaningful connections and conversations with key leaders that will take place in China, setting the stage for San Francisco's further growth.”   

“We are dedicated to making SFO the premier US gateway from China,” said SFO Airport Director Ivar C. Satero. “We have already seen the powerful impact that face-to-face interaction can have in our efforts, not only to restore pre-pandemic air service, but to continue to attract new airlines and destinations in China. Our thanks go out to Mayor Breed for her continued commitment to this critical international market.”  

The Mayor’s delegation will also play a key role in her visit to China, where they will take an active lead in forging lasting partnerships with various business leaders and academic institutions, as part of the City’s work to attract new industry and bring more businesses to San Francisco. The delegation is comprised of San Francisco-based entrepreneurs, business executives, and API community leaders.   

In March, SF Travel published its annual Visitor Impact Results and Forecast. In 2023 alone, China regained its position as the top international market for visitor spend in San Francisco and the region for the first time since 2019, contributing $633.4 million. International visitation continued to be a key driver in San Francisco’s tourism recovery, growing by 26% in 2023. 

The Mayor’s travel is funded by the San Francisco Special Events Committee, a nonprofit group that fundraises year-round to support a wide range of San Francisco City and County-related special events that bring civic or cultural importance.