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May 7, 2013 What is the difference between economic development and economic growth? Listen as former California Commissioner for Economic Development, Henry Yin addresses the answers to these questions and the pros and cons of letting the private sector develop the economy by themselves.
Alan: Welcome back, I’m here today with Henry Yin. Henry is a former Commissioner with the California Economic Development Department. Henry, welcome to today’s show.
Henry: Thank you Alan, good morning everyone.
Alan: So Henry, can you give me your background how did you get to where you are today, and you know, what took you on your journey?
Henry: Well, to make a long story short, I was born in China, raised in Taiwan and came to stay with a dream of becoming, you know, a part of America. That was back to 1974. So after I finished my Master degree program with San Jose State, major in industrial engineering, I started working with few companies in Silicon Valley. Obviously, I was not very satisfied with what I was, you know, between, a, 8 by 5. So, I start having my own business in 1985 with only $50 in my pocket. That was the first company I ever tried to develop my own, but a few years later that business, by the name of Giant Wire Incorporated, specializing in the electronic assembly equipment, became a multimillion dollar business. And then I realized you know, United States will be really the land for the dreamer. As long as we work hard, and dream will come true. And about a few years later I realize, you know, working hard making money will not be the entire part of the life. And we are part of a community. Therefore, I devote all of my time and interest and passion in the community. So, in between I realize not only serving the community where my folks came from, either Taiwan or China, we supposed to become part of this entire large community. That gave me a chance to meet with Mr. Alan Olsen. With the Chamber of Commerce, you recall?
Alan: Oh Yes, years ago, that's right.
Henry: Now that was way back, probably the early 90.
Henry: That was at least 20 years ago.
Alan: So Henry, your Giant Wire, are you still working in that today?
Henry: No, in fact that business, because the Markets switching, it became, you know, the China market became self-sufficient. Therefore, they would not need any equipment from Silicon Valley. So, approximately about 10 years ago, I opened the second one called U S A China Link, that led to the international trading between Silicon Valley or California, and China. That offered me another opportunity to explore the different opportunity and again, part of American dream is how we be able to link the resource between we’re here and verses where I come from originally. So this ten years helped me bring myself to another dream, another level of idea, that’s what I’m developing now, so for the first California green technology park in Fremont.
Alan: Green technology, wow this sounds exciting. I, um, did this culminate out of your role with the California Economic Commission?
Henry: Yes, in fact, that was the change I most appreciate. The former Governor of California Mr. Schwarzenegger who gave me an opportunity and I realize among four major industries, green technology has always been the number two after agriculture and obviously the clean tech; green tech is the direction of the future.
Alan: What exactly is green technology?
Henry: It can be very broad, anything you, you, you come from biodegradable food serving units, like you know, paper plates and the recyclable food container to a huge nuclear power plant, you know and so forth. Whatever will be able to preserve the earth energy now, and again to make them much more efficient when during our day to day lives. So in between the current industry our most focus into such as, LED lighting, solar panel power, electrical bicycle, electrical cars and so forth and so on. So, that’s why this green tech park we’re hoping to develop in Fremont to become the first one of this size, almost 8 square miles, in that entire Southern part of Fremont so a joint venture, we can do that.
Alan: So I'm visiting here today with Henry Yin, Harry is a former Commissioner with the California Economic Development Commission and he's now has a project for a green tech park here in Fremont California. Henry, we need to take a quick break, we’ll be right back after these messages.
Alan: Welcome back, I’m here today with Henry Yin, Henry is an entrepreneur, spent the last forty years here in Fremont California and now has a special project underway called FEGP, which is the acronym for the Fremont Economic Green Park coming into play here in, in this part of the Silicon Valley. Henry what is the difference between economic development and economic growth?
Henry: I think in general terms, economic growth is almost like of the, the natural process of your economic development in a certain region or defined areas. But economic development is more into a preplanned and more experimental process rather than let it go by itself. So for instance, by using this project we did research and come up with this ideal location for the Southern part of Fremont. Knowing that Fremont does have the fortification and all the resource contacts, by putting the efforts from the government, from private sector, from domestic and overseas work with them together into this kind of very organized and disciplined manner; this process we’ll call economic development. That, where will we go from this process? We can expect or anticipate certain results from time to time in a timely manner, or verses you know, economic growth. Then, just like other community that which they go by itself in a very natural way, rather than you know, more planed and organize; so, I think this probably the better explanation, or differentiation between the two.
Alan: So, in this new project for the green technology park you have the support of the local government agencies that Fremont, the City of Fremont is behind this? As well as you have the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, so Henry, what are the pros and cons of allowing the private sector to develop the economy by themselves?
Henry: Based on my understanding of Americans, the city government structure is relatively smaller and limited. Let’s use Fremont as a good example. Fremont is a really, we call medium-size city with about 220,000 population however the city government has very limited resource for economic development, we only have four staff. But how can we expect, the four individuals to accomplish such a huge size project in a matter of just a few years? So, knowing those are the limitations, the more effective way, and the city recognize that, is to allow and welcome the private sectors to join this with resource either the capital, equipment, system or others into this development process.
Alan: So Henry, what type of companies are you looking for to come into the green tech park and how do you incentivize them to do that?
Henry: Yes, that’s a good question Alan. That's the challenge part that we need to conquer. Unlike other socialism countries the central government can literally do whatever they like to do, but in the US system is limited and is different so while doing that part that we are trying the, what we call the legislature system in the US, by going through the state assembly or State Sen. Let them realize that in order to achieve much greater results in the green tech, which is the future of our community and our society. And industry and the state also need to do something through this process of posting the new bill or modifying the current bill so that they can allow certain amount of funding from the, from the federal or from the state, given to the local community like this kind of project. So you mentioned about, you know, two major green tech industry right here in our town one very successful, TESLA, the other was not very fortunate which used to be Solyndra.
Alan: But they’re famous.
Henry: Famous, Okay but either way it’s experimental, okay, of course we have reason to criticize about how Solyndra has been able to, has not been able to manage their money but that kind of experiment, to try that clean tech products is definitely a must, okay.
Alan: So Henry, how does a person find more information about this or reach you on the green tech project, do you have a website or phone number?
Henry: Yes, what I would suggest, that we do have a website in the meantime that I would encourage anyone to either send email to me, that is HMYIN@Comcast.net I will be able to assign one of our 30 volunteers to the deck of different type of products or projects so that he or she will be able to assist, that's how we handle this one for the last one year.
Alan: I'm visiting here today with Henry Yin, he's a former California Economic Commissioner and is now taking on a project in the Fremont community for a green tech park in Southern Fremont. Henry, we appreciate you being on today’s show.
Henry: Thank you Alan, and thanks everyone.
Alan: We’ll be right back after these messages.