Meridian becomes more welcoming as nearby MSU sees international population grow

By Riley James
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

According to the Office for International Students and Scholars at Michigan State University, the percentage of MSU students from outside the United States has quintupled since 1950, when international students only made up 3 percent of the population. In 2015, international students made up 15 percent of the university’s population with 7,568 attending school at MSU. This increase in population has led to surrounding communities like Meridian Township to host events so the international students feel more at home in mid-Michigan. One of those events was Meridian Mall’s fourth annual Chinese New Year celebration on Feb. 7.

Influx of Asian students at MSU is diversifying Ingham County as a whole

By Xin Wen
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

EAST LANSING — There were 7,568 international students enrolled in fall 2015 at Michigan State University. International student enrollment has grown 28.3 percent over the last five years, according to the 2015 Statistical Report of Michigan State University. Those students have also been broadening Ingham County’s diversity, and its bottom line. International students and their families contributed a net $308.0 million and supported 4,721 jobs in the Lansing economy in the 2014-2015 school year, according to In Ingham County, 9,691 residents were born in Asia, according to Mooseroots.

MSU Advertising Students Travel to China

Last month sixteen students from Michigan State traveled more than 6,000 miles around the world to Beijing. Twelve of them competed in the annual One Show Youth Creative Workshop Competition and 5 of them are already making money on youtube. Stepping off the bus and into a foreign country, 12 Michigan State advertising students vying to win gold. “Are you guys looking for more illustration stuff?” senior Briana McNamara asked a group of Chinese students.

State's ag exports to China skyrocket

Capital News Service
LANSING — In the past five years, more and more of Michigan’s dairy products and prepared fruits and vegetables have been on their way to China, according to export data from Euromonitor International Ltd. From 2010 to 2014, the dollar value of dairy product exports to China skyrocketed 688 percent, according to the London-based economic analysis firm. In that same time period, the dollar value of prepared fruit and vegetable exports, which include dried tart cherries, rose almost four-fold. Chris Wolf, a professor of agricultural, food and resource economics at Michigan State University, said U.S. dairy products — specifically powdered milk — took hold in the Chinese market following that country’s baby formula scandal in 2008. The result of the scandal was a loss of confidence in domestic dairy products, Wolf said.

Michigan aims to capture Chinese tourist market

Capital News Service
LANSING — The number of Chinese travelers and the amount of money spent per visitor are the highest among all groups of international visitors, according to the U.S. Travel Association. This potential tourism market is capturing the attention of Michigan’s government. For the first time, Gov. Rick Snyder included tourism in the agenda of his recent investment mission to China and touted Michigan’s potential as a destination for international travelers. “China offers Michigan the opportunity to tap into one of the fastest-growing inbound travel markets in the United States,” said Michelle Grinnell, the public relations manager of the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “So Gov. Snyder made tourism and shared cultural and travel promotional opportunities between Michigan and China a key priority on this mission.”
With strong business connections between Michigan and China – business travel accounts for a large portion of international travel to the state – and more than 7,000 Chinese students attending universities in Michigan, there are tremendous opportunities to encourage additional leisure travel to the state by both groups, said Grinnell.

New visa rules mean increased efforts to attract Chinese visitors to Michigan

Capital News Service
LANSING — The U.S. is making it easier for Chinese residents to visit the United States, and Michigan is working hard to take advantage of this new economic opportunity. Leisure visas into the United States from China are now good for 10 years, which makes it cheaper and easier for Chinese tourists to come and go. A rising economy and growing upper middle class mean Chinese visitors can stay longer and spend more than they used to, tourism officials said. About 1.8 million Chinese tourists traveled to the U.S. in 2013, according the U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries. In 2014, a little over 1.9 million had visited by October.

Meridian Township makes continuous efforts to keep a culturally diverse community

By Kelsey Banas
The Meridian Times

Meridian Township is riding a wave of international diversity by encouraging and taking advantage of this big magnet for international talent called Michigan State University. Meridian Township benefits from connections with Michigan State University where international students are renting apartments and purchasing homes. According to the Office for International Students and Scholars, there were 7,161 international students in fall 2013. That was an increase of 8.5 percent from the year before. “We like to think that by providing a welcoming atmosphere and providing a high quality of life in Meridian we will keep our international population here,” said Julie Brixie, Meridian Township treasurer.

Some (not all) state wines heading for China, Asia

Capital News Service
LANSING – Significant growth in the wine-grape industry and wide availability of cherries have created a boost in Michigan wine production and its appearance in other states and even other countries. “The industry is growing fast—nine wineries were added to our list last year,” said Karel Bush, promotion specialist at the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. According to Bush, the state has more than 150 wineries with more than 100 of them using home-grown fruits. And half are located along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Traverse City to Southwest Michigan. Bush said both the quality and the quantity of this year’s wine is very good.

New trade trip hunts business opportunities with China

Capital News Service
LANSING — More Michigan companies are exploring business opportunities in the fast-growing Chinese market. The latest trade mission by Gov. Rick Snyder and business leaders from 21 companies sought export and investment opportunities for firms in the state. Snyder went to Asia on a trade mission last year, stopping in China, Japan and South Korea. This trip focused solely on China to continue to build relationships and forge partnerships for new trade and business opportunities, said Sara Wurfel, press secretary for the governor’s office. The 10-day trip was intended to expand the Chinese market for Michigan-made products and services, along with the opening of the Michigan Center China Office in Shanghai.