Governor Hughes and Mayor Schaefer used their visits to presciently focus on economic cooperation decades before it would be propelled to the forefront of U.S.-China relations. Since 1994, the Maryland-China Business Council, based in Bethesda, has continued efforts to advance business ties. In 1996, Maryland became the first state to open a trade and investment office in China, currently based in Shanghai and Beijing. And in 2009, Maryland's flagship university and the state's Department of Business and Economic Development launched the Maryland International Incubator, designed to help international technology companies, including Chinese firms, enter U.S. markets. They have helped Maryland to become home to headquarters of 13 Chinese companies and to make China the state's second-largest trading partner.