In 2001, with China joining the WTO, an increasing number of foreign enterprises started investing in second tier cities with great potentials such as Qingdao, where many chambers of commerce from Europe and America set up rep offices. As a result, such NGOs as QBL (Qingdao Business Leaders) and QIBC (Qingdao International Business Club) emerged.
QBL was founded in 2006 and open to foreign passport holders only, whereas QIBC was established in 2009 and open to both expats and local business people.
In 2009, a strategic agreement was concluded between QBL and QIBC, which led to a full merger of the two organizations in Jan 2012. As a result, QIBA (Qingdao International Business Club) was founded, in order to construct a cooperation platform for both Chinese and expat business people. At the same time, QIBA Huangdao Branch was also established.