OAKLEY -- Whatever the City Council decides at its next meeting, it will be missing one voice.

Mayor Randy Pope will be on the other side of the world, confabbing with Chinese business interests in hopes of attracting investment dollars to the city.

Pope is joining 11 other Bay Area mayors and vice-mayors representing cities from Scotts Valley to East Palo Alto and Moraga on the 11-day, all-expenses-paid trip. He left Monday.

Participants will visit Beijing, Shanghai and two other major cities -- all of which are underwriting most of the approximately $5,000-per-person tab -- where they will meet with local government officials as well as the chief executive officers of high-tech companies.

Oakley Mayor Randy Pope, takes his seat after a short recess during the City Council meeting in Oakley, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. Pope, who joined
Oakley Mayor Randy Pope, takes his seat after a short recess during the City Council meeting in Oakley, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014. Pope, who joined the City Council three years ago, would like to get his colleagues on the council voting on two of his primary goals, restoring the planning commission and turn the city's contract police department into a municipal one.(Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

The goal is to develop symbiotic relationships not only in the high-tech industry but in the realm of real estate.

On the one hand, cooperative ventures between the two countries could benefit small- to medium-size U.S. companies that want to expand their presence in China and have the high-tech know-how it wants but lack the capital. In those cases, Chinese businesses might finance their research and development and marketing costs, said Stephanie Xu, co-president of China Silicon Valley, which is organizing the trip.

But another form of collaboration is in the form of Chinese developers buying real estate in U.S. cities and working with local builders on industrial or residential projects.


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Oakley could benefit from such an arrangement, both by the construction jobs that would be created and the additional property tax revenue the developed land would generate, Xu said.

Pope has no expectations of returning with a signed-and-sealed business deal but says the networking he does in China might pave the way for overseas money to flow into Oakley down the road.

After all, there's land available for development in Oakley, whereas other cities are so built up that they would have to tear down structures to build something in its place, Pope said.

"If we can make connections -- put the right people in touch with the right people -- we could make something happen in the future," he said.

Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.

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