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Consultant introduces Sandusky to Chinese investors

Melissa Topey • Feb 10, 2013 at 5:30 AM

Simon Guo, president and founder of the consulting company Five Lakes Global Group, spoke Thursday before the Sandusky Rotary club.

Guo is known for his recent work fostering relationships between China and Toledo, efforts that have already seen Chinese businessmen purchase a few hotels and homes in the Toledo area.

Guo said he sees no reason why this shouldn't happen in Sandusky.

Randy Hunt, a local investment banker and Sandusky Rotary member, has fostered a solid business relationship with Guo.

“As I talked to Simon and his interest in Toledo and the Maumee River, it came immediately to my mind that the Maumee is nice, but the lake is superior,” Hunt said. “I told him if they liked the water so much, that Sandusky being on the lake is wonderful.”

Hunt has already brought three tours of about 50 Chinese businessmen to Sandusky.

“They were in Toledo and had visited as far as Marblehead," Hunt said. "It  was simply a matter of me saying, 'Why don't you drive another 20 minutes?'"

And so they did. Hunt was their tour guide, showing them around Sandusky and its great draws, including Kalahari Resort, the Chaussee and Cedar Point.

“Now we are a destination spot. They call me when they're in the area,” Hunt said.

Said Guo: “They were all very impressed."

Guo spoke to the chamber about his plan to lure tourists, how he'll trumpet the beauty of the water, the resorts and the fun of Cedar Point — everything tourism-related.

“This year we're planning to do a tourism conference,” Guo said.

The strategy: start with something that makes the area unique. In Sandusky's case, that's the lake, the islands and the many parks and resorts.

“Toledo is the rising hub of international logistics," Guo said. "I believe Sandusky can be the hub for tourists."

In time, manufacturing and technology businesses would follow. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome: the cultural gap between business leaders from two countries.

But that's sort of Guo's specialty. He has the connections to help people overcome the cultural divides, and he has connections with business owners in clubs in China, called CEO clubs.

“If we can get the word out, people are going to come,” Guo said.

That would bring in money, all without the smoke and pollutants of industry, he said.

Five Lakes Global also helps American businessman sell their products in China, a market that craves all things American, Guo said.

“That money comes back to the United States,” he said.


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