LANSING—Officials at the Lansing Economic Area Partnership announced that Continental Oceans Technology Corp., a Chinese company, will open its United States operations in Meridian Township outside Lansing.
COTC is building a global trade, logistics and travel advisory platform to improve the travel experiences of users through technology. An emphasis will be placed on designing for Chinese nationals who are traveling or relocating for work, school, family or other purposes either temporarily or permanently.
China’s population is estimated to have surpassed 1.4 billion, and with this growing population comes an increase in the annual number of overseas visits. The number of international visits by Chinese nationals has grown 1,426 percent since 2000, topping 149.7 million in 2018.
The company’s platform, called Younglode, will use artificial intelligence to help users discern points of interest and potential like-minded community members. It will integrate social media elements, connecting into China’s WeChat platform, and will support the use of cryptocurrency for financial transactions. It will also embrace 5G connectivity and support integration of other devices within the increasingly pervasive internet of things landscape in order to meet the needs of users.
The global travel advisory market is enormous and growing, providing new opportunities to connect, provide resources to and build community within a massive and diverse audience via new technology, COTC CEO Zeyang Li said.
“Our company is well-positioned for rapid growth in the global trade, logistics and travel advisory markets, focusing on providing convenient and connected digital solutions to the global travel consumer,” Li said. “We are excited for the opportunity to partner with LEAP, Meridian Township and the state of Michigan to launch our business here in the United States.”
Added Keith Lambert, vice president of business attraction at LEAP: “It is always a delight to land foreign direct investment projects in the Lansing region, but especially so during these extraordinary times we face due to the COVID-19 crisis. Having companies like COTC based here helps the region retain international talent and diversify our tech cluster. We look forward to continued partnership to ensure their success down the road.”
COTC launched its U.S. operations with seven employees in the Lansing area, and plans to hire 50 employees within the next two years, and over 500 employees companywide, including operations in China and elsewhere, in the next three years. An estimated capital investment of $2 million will be made as the company grows U.S. operations during this initial period of business growth. Several company executives and employees have ties to the Lansing region, as either current international students or graduates of Michigan State University.
Earlier this year the company leased 2,583 square feet of office space at 2422 Jolly Road, just west of Okemos Road in Meridian Township. The building is owned by T.A. Forsberg Inc., which has a track record of supporting LEAP projects.
More about COTC and the Younglode platform at https://cotc.co/en/home/.