Mission notebook, Day 6: Why East Coast (not West) may be better fit for East Asian countries

SEOUL, South Korea — It seems counterintuitive. With the Asian-Pacific Rim across the Pacific Ocean from the West Coast of the U.S., it would be easy to assume that West Coast locations (such as San Francisco or Seattle) would be a better fit for companies to locate.

Not so fast, my friend.

Many officials on the 2023 New Jersey East Asia Economic Mission explained why the East Coast may be a better fit. A few reasons why:

  • Density of population: 20% of the U.S. population is in the Northeast. Enough said.
  • Density of airports: Newark Liberty International Airport has more than enough flights (and nonstops) to Asia to serve the need. Even better, if there is an issue getting a flight to Newark, nearby JFK, La Guardia and Philadelphia provide redundancy. (What are you going to do if you can’t get into Sea-Tac?)
  • The time zone: Global companies need a location in Asia, Europe and North America. Being on the East Coast makes 24-hour coverage easier. (Remember, the West Coast is sleeping when Europe is going.)
  • Culture: Asian companies want to feel welcome in the U.S. The Northeast can match the West Coast for Asian communities.

Where is the governor and what day/time is it?

If you’re reading this in New Jersey at 2 p.m. Thursday, it’s 3 a.m. Friday in Taipei, Taiwan.

What happened on Day 6 (Thursday in South Korea)?

  • Breakfast: Delegates met with members of FOMEK (the Federation of Middle-Market Enterprises in Korea).
  • Tour I: Delegates took a private tour at the War Memorial of Korea. (In total seriousness, we asked, no one was familiar with the TV series “M*A*S*H.”)
  • Tour II: Delegates saw a lot of cool products at LG Science Park (no samples).
  • Flight: The delegation made an approximately three-hour flight from Seoul to Taipei, landing an hour or so before midnight Thursday.

What’s next: Key events for Day 7 (Friday in Taiwan)

  • Tour: Cultural tour of Taipei.
  • MOU Signings: The New Jersey Economic Development Authority will sign agreements with the state of Taiwan on economic trade partnerships and education collaboration.
  • Roundtable: SelectUSA will host a green energy roundup, sponsored by Ørsted.
  • Dinner: Sponsored by the American Institute of Taiwan.

Why are you here? Insights from the delegates

Kimberly Hollister
Dean of the Feliciano School of Business and Montclair Unbound
Montclair State University

“I’m looking at, how do we create more opportunities for our students and Montclair State? So, looking at what types of programs are connecting here, what types of other organizations are involved, gives me a better understanding of, how do we better position our students and put them in a stronger position — which helps New Jersey also be in a stronger position?”

Quotes of the day

“Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a county they never knew and a people they never met.”

“We will remember the noble sacrifice of the soldiers who joined the U.N. forces to fight for freedom and peace.”

— Signs on the wall at the War Memorial of Korea

Quick economic stat on Taiwan

This will explain why so many states/countries want to do business in Taiwan. A look at the leading sectors for U.S. exports and investments:

  • Aerospace and defense;
  • Electric power equipment and energy;
  • Education and training services;
  • Franchising;
  • Information and communication technology;
  • Machinery and machine tools;
  • Medical devices;
  • Travel and tourism.

Quick stat on Taiwan-N.J.

Currently, around 200 Taiwanese companies operate in New Jersey, including Formosa Plastics Group, Evergreen Marine Corp., Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. and Friendwell. The state has the fourth-largest Taiwanese community in the U.S.

And then there’s …

The best presentation of the trip came from Joohyun Kim, the head of strategic planning at Seoul-based bb.q Chicken. With great comedy, he explained that K-F-C really means Korean Fried Chicken and that “bbq” really stands for “best of the best quality.” There may be something to it. bb.q, which makes its North American headquarters in Fort Lee, has 3,500 locations worldwide, including 14 (with more coming) in Jersey. The only miss? No samples.