Business & Economy

Uncertainty in the air as foreign investors visit LA

Tech startup Hyperloop One is trying to build a new mode of transportation that would involve pods moving at very high speeds through a tube. The company is presenting at Select LA.
Tech startup Hyperloop One is trying to build a new mode of transportation that would involve pods moving at very high speeds through a tube. The company is presenting at Select LA.
/Hyperloop One

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As the Select L.A. Investment Summit opens Thursday, hundreds of global investors — from Azerbaijan to New Zealand — have come to hear pitches from local companies needing capital. 

World Trade Center Los Angeles President Stephen Cheung, who's presiding over the event, is worried that Southern California firms will have a tough sell. He's worried about the investor's bugaboo, uncertainty. There's a lot of uncertainty these days about where President Trump will land with regard to various economic policies.

"We’re hoping that some of these uncertainties will be resolved so that our international investors can make a long-term decision about whether this is the right market for them," Cheung said.

He also hopes investors can look past Trump’s unpredictability and instead focus on business fundamentals.

"From the international investor business perspective they’re still looking at the bottom line and the facts," said Cheung.

Presenting companies include include Alibaba Pictures, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies and Solar Reserve.

World Trade Center L.A. is releasing a new report at the summit showing there are now 9,964 foreign-owned companies in Southern California, ​an increase of 859 over last year. A bit more than 1 percent of local businesses are foreign-owned.

China gets a lot of the attention but it is actually only the ninth-biggest source of foreign direct investment in Southern California. Japan is number one, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Germany.