Good Investments

Accountant Raymond Cheung (G96) is helping his firm and the state of Oregon engage with Asian investors

by Sean Patterson

It’s been nearly 20 years since Raymond Cheung left his native Hong Kong, but in many ways, he’s never left home. Cheung, a partner in the Portland-based Geffen Mesher & Company accounting firm, retains close ties to his homeland, although not in a familial sense. Rather, he travels to China, Hong Kong and Taiwan five or six times a year to serve clients in accounting, auditing, merger and acquisition transactions.

And, last year, Cheung’s commitment to international commerce resulted in an invitation to serve as a delegate on an Oregon Business Development mission to Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and China. Joining Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler and other business and state delegates, Cheung engaged in investment meetings with Asian business owners, met with prospective and current Oregon customers, and participated in U.S. Embassy briefings on economic and commercial issues.

The trip reaffirmed for Cheung that our states have a lot of work to do to promote their abilities in sustainable and biotechnology sectors. “We have generated significant interest from business in renewable and biotech, and there’s a lot of interest in inbound foreign investment,” Cheung says. “We should see a lot more merger and acquisition transactions initiated from foreign investors in the years to come.”

On the trip, Cheung interacted with business leaders and governmental officials, and at times served as an interpreter. If anything, the experience reinforced Cheung’s belief that the future health of Oregon’s economy is highly dependent on foreign investments.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of developing these international relationships,” Cheung says. “Our state has a lot to offer, particularly in the areas of sustainable business and biosciences, our rich agricultural resources such as our wineries, and tourism.”

Cheung’s conviction that Asian investors are critical to the state’s economic recovery is warranted: China is Oregon’s top foreign customer, with monthly exports exceeding $300 million, according to the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research.

“In the next 50 years, I believe 50 percent of the growth in the global economy will come from China and India,” Cheung says. “How we do business with that sector of the world will be critical to the future health of our state economy.”

In addition to his accounting duties, Cheung serves as a treasurer for the Oregon Bioscience Association, dedicated to growing Oregon’s biotechnology industry, and also serves on the board with the Northwest China Council and the Sustainable Northwest organization.

Cheung’s dedication to his firm, international business relations and mentoring contributed to his selection last year to the Portland Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40,” an honor that annually recognizes young Portland-area business leaders who make significant contributions in their field of expertise and an impact in their communities.

His commitment to global engagement is also evident at home in Oregon, where he meets regularly to mentor international college students and annually recruits four to six recent graduates for his firm.

“I was fortunate to have people take the time to invest in me, so this is my way of giving back. It is truly an invaluable service to provide and to receive,” he says of his mentoring sessions with students, including those from George Fox. “I find that investing in young people is the most gratifying thing I can do. It is a special feeling knowing you’re making a difference in their lives.”