Gov. Norm Bangerter's efforts to sell Utah on a recent trip to the Orient were enhanced by news of fusion research, and state officials hope several Far East companies soon will make large investments statewide.
Bangerter returned last week with news that Compeq, a Taiwanese computer company, soon will build a plant along the Wasatch Front employing 232 people. The announcement followed intense efforts by the Bangerter administration to entice oriental companies and tourists to invest in Utah.Kirk Green, state marketing director, said the governor met with officials from many companies in Japan, Korea and Taiwan and that reports of a fusion breakthrough at the University of Utah was on everyone's mind.
"Many of them had full briefing packages with 10 or 15 news articles on the subject," said Green, who accompanied the governor on the trip.
Green said the fusion news reinforced the image Utah is trying to portray of a state where education is a priority.
"This leaves strong symbols in their minds," he said. "It's so much better to talk about fusion than about the Great Salt Lake flooding or the Singer-Swapp shootings."
Green said the decision by Compeq to move to Utah will have far-reaching effects on the other oriental companies. Compeq, although based in Taiwan, has strong business ties with Japan.
"We've overcome one of the biggest obstacles - getting one of those companies to settle here," he said. "They're all sort of nervous of being the first ones to make that step."
Green said officials at Sanyo in Japan seemed particularly impressed with the Utah officials, spending an entire day with them and treating them to dinner in the evening. Sanyo has a small plant in Orem under the name ICON, and Green said the state delegation tried to convince company officials to expand their Utah plant into a North American regional center.
officials, including Satoshi Iue, the president.
"They look for long-term friendships," Green said. "You cannot put a price on getting the governor to represent us in these types of things."
Sanyo officials, however, made no commitments. "But they said they like Utah and they see us in their long-range plans," Green said.
Bangerter also met with officials from Hyundai in Korea, which is best known for its inexpensive, compact cars. He met with officials from Daewoo Electronics and from major oriental airlines that include Utah in their tourist packages.
The governor is likely to return to the Orient and visit the companies again, Green said.