In an article dated Aug. 26, 1919, the New York Times announced that an American Chamber of Commerce had been set up in what was then called Peking. The eight founding members were Anderson, Meyer & Co., the International Banking Corporation, the American Trading Company, the China-American Trading Company, the American Bank Note Company, E. W. Frazer & Co., the Siems-Carey Company, and the Standard Oil Company.


The Chamber reformed at a Nov. 10 meeting at the Peking Hotel (now the Beijing Hotel). Richard E. Kask of General Electric was elected as the Chamber’s first President (a position now referred to as Chairman).


On April 22, after the completion of a lengthy registration process with the government, the American Chamber of Commerce in China received foreign chamber certificate No. 2 and was officially recognized. The occasion was marked by a ceremony at the Great Wall Sheraton with then President Dean T.C. Lee, US ambassador James Lilley, and senior Chinese government officials.


AmCham China launched its first issue of
the American Business in China White Paper, which aggregated business insights and recommendations from all industries. The White Paper represents the efforts of the Chamber and its members to communicate with both the US and Chinese governments and to improve the business environment for American businesses in China.


The first Government Appreciation Dinner hosted more than 400 guests at the Kerry Center Hotel on Dec. 5, 2000. Guests of honor included US Ambassador Joseph Prueher, with Shi Guangsheng, Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation serving as the keynote speaker. The Appreciation Dinner has since become one of the Chamber’s most influential events, featuring government officials, including Vice Premier Wu Yi (2007), Vice Premier Wang Yang (2015), and various US Ambassadors to China as keynote speakers.


The Chamber’s first Charity Ball and golf tournament, held Sept. 12 and 13, raised over $100,000 for four charities: the Beijing Zhiguang Special Education and Training School, the American Education and Health Foundation, the Langfang Children’s Village, and the New Day Foster Home.


Formally launched in 2004, the US-China Aviation Cooperation Program (ACP) was established to provide a public-private sector platform to work on issues important to the growth of China’s aviation system, and US aviation interests. ACP has nearly 50 corporate members from various disciplines within the aviation industry.


Following the Sichuan Earthquake on May 12, a group of 38 AmCham China representatives visited the worst-affected areas in the region. The group included Chairman James Zimmerman and Vice Chairman Matthew Estes. The combined donations of all member companies surpassed
$87 million dollars, both in cash and in-kind donations.


Founded in Sep. 2009 by 24 US companies, the US-China Energy Cooperation Program (ECP) was underscored by US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao in the official joint statements during Obama’s visit to China in 2009. The program aims to create a bilateral business platform for US and Chinese companies to pursue private sector-based business opportunities, advance sustainable development in the energy industry, and combat climate change.


Dr. Jane Goodall spoke with AmCham China members on the importance of best practices and how companies can integrate CSR into everyday operations.


As the Business Climate chapter from the White Paper became a valuable source of information about the foreign business community in China, the Chamber published the first independent Business Climate Survey Report. Over the last 10 years, it has become a key barometer of the business environment for the
US and Chinese governments, the foreign business community itself, and AmCham China member companies.


The US-China Healthcare Cooperation Program (HCP) was founded in 2011, based on the US-China Public Private Partnership on Healthcare (PPPH) framework announced in January 2011, on the occasion of the Summit between Barack Obama and Hu Jintao. HCP’s mission is to strengthen long-term, constructive cooperation in healthcare between the US and China.


August 2011, AmCham China co-hosted a private business meeting between US Vice President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Vice President Xi Jinping. The event was also hosted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and the US-China Business Council. China CEOs from GE, JP Morgan Chase, Dupont, General Motors, Caterpillar, Corning, Acorn International, and United Family Hospitals took part in the meeting, along with representatives from the Ministry of Commerce and the CEOs of 10 Chinese companies.


The US-China Agriculture and Food Partnership (AFP) was launched in 2012 as a single point of contact to bring together US and Chinese public and private sector entities, help develop trust, and foster positive relationships. The AFP was created with the support of the US and Chinese governments to continue in the tradition of the Agricultural Symposium that was a centerpiece of then-Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit to Iowa in Feb. 2012.


AmCham China welcomed its first two Chairman’s Circle members, Intel and Oshkosh. The Chairman’s Circle was designed as a unique platform to provide premium member companies with enhanced leadership status within the community, as well as greater intelligence, access, influence, and exposure for their businesses. Membership has now expanded to eight members: (in alphabetical order) Amway, British Petroleum, Coca-Cola, ConocoPhillips, Dell, Honeywell, Intel, and Merck.

AmCham China Chairman’s Circle Members

Johnson & Johnson
Coca Cola
Coco Phillips

During the APEC meetings in Beijing, AmCham China hosted Secretary of State John Kerry, along with US Trade Representative Michael Froman.


AmCham China President Alan Beebe, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad celebrated the reintroduction of US beef to the Chinese market after a 14 year-long ban on US beef imports into China.


On September 20, AmCham China held the first annual Technology & Innovation Summit as part of its Technology & Innovation Initiative, featuring guest speakers Kai-Fu Lee and Microsoft CTO Mingqiang Xu.


In response to the developing US-China trade tensions, AmCham China launched a web-based trade portal to provide member companies with a comprehensive resource database to help navigate the dynamic US-China business landscape. Additionally, the Chamber carried out joint surveys on the effects of tariffs in cooperation with AmCham Shanghai, and worked with various member companies to offer tariff exclusion application services to members.