As we kick off our year-long 50th Anniversary campaign, we asked long-time Member and Lifetime Honorary Board Director, Ms. Annie S.C. Wu, to reflect on her time as part of the WTCA.
I was first introduced to the World Trade Centers Association network when I helped set up the World Trade Centre Club Hong Kong (WTCC HK) on April 1, 1976. In order to fully understand the mission of the WTCA, I visited the organization’s headquarters in New York City just a few weeks after setting up the Club, in mid-April. Shortly after that, the late Guy Tozzoli, then-Director of the World Trade Department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, returned with a delegation for a visit to our WTCC HK on July 1, 1976 — the Club’s first official day open. During those visits I quickly learned the core purpose of the WTCA: to connect with, and offer reciprocity to, our valuable global network of WTC Members. While much has changed over 40-plus years, WTCC HK has maintained its focus on global networking.
Since its inception, the Club has been the gateway for all WTCs’ travels to China and has also become the link to assist WTCA to recruit members within the country. The first region to join was Shanghai in 1982, quickly followed by Nanjing, Guangzhou, and Beijing. In the years that followed, other cities such as Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Shenzhen, Xi’an, and Tianjin were added to the association’s roster. As these members have joined across China, our collective ability to participate within and utilize the WTCA network has increased accordingly.
Specifically, the WTCA has been a useful platform for delegations from various Chinese cities to attend the General Assemblies (GAs) overseas. Some former senior government officials have participated in GAs, such as Madam Wu Yi, acting as the keynote speaker at the WTCA GA in the Minnesota State Capital in 1990. WTCA GAs have also been hosted in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, allowing WTCA members to travel throughout other regions of China for trade and networking opportunities. These GA experiences have allowed WTCC HK to learn about trade and investment from other overseas members, and provided a unique opportunity to visit other WTCs to exchange information.
In looking beyond China, my experience as an active Director on the Board of the WTCA gave me a wide view of everything happening around the globe and our network. I can say confidently that the Association has provided that same platform for Members in all its regions, from Asia-Pacific, to Africa and the Middle East, and from India to Europe and the Americas. Those early days of the WTCA showed such promise for our Membership, and I am delighted to share this 50th Anniversary with all of the rest of our global collection of trade and investment leaders. While the future is never clear, and the world has gone through so much change and flux since our founding in 1969, we have only grown stronger.
As global business continues to evolve, WTCA and its Members will face many challenges. For example, with the rise of Fintech we will see how businesses adopt and utilize modern technology to secure their leadership in their specific industries. We understand that the future in business will be through digital technology and online capacity, paired with offline centers.
Through our global network and association, we are equipped with the resources to face these challenges head on and secure our positions in the modern disruptive world of business transactions. This is the continued power of the WTCA network, and I am so proud to have been a part of this deep history of collaboration, innovation, and partnership.