About Us

The Michigan-China Innovation Center (MCIC) is a non-profit organization building business ties and enhancing cooperation between Michigan and China. Founded in 2016 with a grant from the State of Michigan, our work, carried out both in Michigan and in China, includes:

  • Attracting Chinese investment to Michigan
  • Marketing Michigan in China
  • Building relationships with individuals, businesses, business groups, and governmental units in China
  • Organizing a wide variety of collaborations between Michigan and Chinese partners.

MCIC’s vision is to be the top state-level China-focused organization in the US.

MCIC’s mission is to create jobs, attract investment, and increase competitiveness in Michigan by developing win-win ventures with China.

Brian Connors 康为

Brian Connors 康为

Executive Director

Brian founded the Michigan-China Innovation Center after managing the State of Michigan’s China initiatives for four years. In that capacity, he promoted Michigan to China and built relationships with hundreds of Chinese companies, resulting in the location of dozens of job-creating projects in Michigan.

Brian also coordinated seven China trade and investment missions for former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s office, establishing partnerships with some of China’s most important provinces and industry groups. Before serving his home state of Michigan, Brian opened a successful chain of cafes in Beijing, deepening his studies of Chinese language and culture along the way. Brian received his B.A. from Williams College and a Master of Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Yahang Zhang 张亚航

Yahang Zhang 张亚航

Market Research Specialist

Yahang came to Michigan by way of Henan, China. Driven by her passion for multiculturalism and communication, Yahang graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Marketing and Minor in Sales. Prior to joining the Michigan-China Innovation Center, she worked for a leading market research company in Michigan as a research analyst focused on the automotive industry.  

Courtney Henderson 蓝晴

Courtney Henderson 蓝晴

Deputy Director

Courtney joined the Michigan-China Innovation Center (MCIC) as it was launching in 2016. She is responsible for the organization’s business development, marketing strategy, cybersecurity, and events, including MCIC’s largest bilateral exchange, Michigan China Week. Courtney has also supported three trade and investment missions for former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s office. Before serving her home state of Michigan, Courtney worked in public affairs at a renewable energy trade association in Washington, D.C.

She received her B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and an M.A. in Chinese Studies from the University of Michigan. Previously, she lived and worked in Shenzhen, China.

Crystal Li 李晶

Crystal Li 李晶

Business Development Manager

Crystal works for the Michigan-China Innovation Center in Shanghai. Before joining our team, she worked as an international trade and investment consultant for Michigan companies interested in doing business in China. She has a B.A. in Spanish from Shanghai International Studies University and an M.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia.

Elena Hubbell 胡丽娜

Elena Hubbell 胡丽娜

Executive Assistant

Elena Hubbell is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Chinese Studies and Literature. Her interest in China began in high school when she participated in a study abroad trip to Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai. Elena is a Michigan native who grew up near Traverse City.


State of Michigan

Partners in Michigan government include the Office of the Governor of Michigan, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, county governments, and city governments.

City of Detroit

Office of the Mayor, Jobs and Economy Team, and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation

U.S. Department of Commerce

Federal agency creating the conditions for economic growth and opportunity in the U.S.

Consulate of the PRC in Chicago

Official representative of the People’s Republic of China to the Midwest region of the U.S.

PRC Ministry of Commerce

China’s counterpart to the U.S. Department of Commerce

Joint Working Group

China Provinces and U.S. State of Michigan Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment Cooperation

City of Shenzhen

Government of Shenzhen Municipality

China Association of Automotive Manufacturers

A member-based organization devoted to advancing the automotive industry in China

Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries

Enhances international cooperation and promotes development through people-to-people diplomacy

China Council for the Promotion of International Trade

A Chinese national foreign trade and investment promotion agency

Joint Working Group

In 2015, Governor Rick Snyder and Mr. Zhong Shan, now Minister of Commerce of the PRC, established the China Provinces and U.S. State of Michigan Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment Cooperation.

Provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hubei, Sichuan, and the city of Chongqing

The Joint Working Group regularly organizes joint trade and investment promotion activities between Michigan and the economically dynamic provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Hubei, Sichuan, as well as the city of Chongqing.

On Michigan’s behalf, MCIC serves as the implementing organization; on behalf of the Ministry of Commerce of the PRC and the Departments of Commerce of the five regions of China, the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Machinery and Electronic Products (CCCME) serves as the implementing organization.

Get Connected

Michigan-China Innovation Center is here to connect you to resources in Michigan. Have a question about your company doing business in Michigan?

The Michigan-China Innovation Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit specializing in creating jobs and prosperity by building connections between Michigan and China.

Funded by the  State of Michigan.