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IMG_1399.JPGSHANGHAI - If the strobe lights and house music did not make clear this was an unusual place for Gov. Jerry Brown, the host's introduction certainly did.

"It's not a press conference," he said Friday. "It's a party!"

In an auditorium at the Ritz Carlton in this city of more than 23 million people, Brown joined Caroline Beteta, president and chief executive officer of the tourism group Visit California, to announce a $1.6 million campaign to draw more Chinese tourists to the Golden State.

There were drawings for prizes, appeals to "shake" and "let's do it," and a countdown to a ceremonial launch that involved Brown, Beteta and a button on stage. The tourism group said it will promote California in online ads and on a dozen electronic billboards around Shanghai.

The 75-year-old governor, in China for a week-long trade mission, acknowledged the event was a "bit more glitzy than I'm used to," but he said, "it pales in comparison to the sparkle of California."

Earlier Friday, Chinese officials hosted Brown at a banquet at the government-owned WH Ming Hotel. Brown's hosts set up a massive, red banner in the banquet hall: "Welcome the delegation from California, USA headed by Governor Brown," and a march played as Brown walked to the podium to offer remarks.

Lighter music was playing as Brown left. He stopped for a moment to listen to the string trio.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown participates in the announcement of a tourism campaign in China involving electronic billboards on Friday, April 12, 2013. David Siders / Sacramento Bee


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