BIC announces China as 2015 Spotlight country

China is Alabama’s second largest export market, valued at $2.5 billion, according to the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Wilson said China accounts for the fastest emerging middle class and will represent the largest consumer block in the world and 20 percent of the world’s population by 2020.

“We selected China as our spotlight country because of the growing Chinese community and hundreds of Chinese students studying at Alabama colleges and universities across the state,” said Iris Gross, executive director of the BIC, in the release. “We want to provide students and teachers throughout the state of Alabama with cultural education opportunities that better enable them to be successful in the workplace of the future. In our discussions with the Chinese ambassador to the U.S., he has said how impressed he has been by the level of commercial, cultural and educational collaboration in Alabama for the Spotlight on China.”

The Chinese Ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Cui Tainkai, is scheduled to travel to Birmingham for key Spotlight on China events in January 2015, the release said. The BIC’s programming covers three categories: education, culture and commerce.

“The Birmingham International Center’s efforts to help us develop a greater understanding, not only of the global society, but of our roles in it,” said Lee Styslinger III, chairman and CEO of Altec Inc., and chair of the 2015 Spotlight on China, said in the release. “Whether in the classroom or in business development, the more we know of each other, the fewer barriers we see. Altec is proud to be involved with an initiative that strengthens Alabama’s ties with China and illustrates the significance of international business for our state.”

Information about BIC Spotlight on China events and activities can be found at