I see Chinese investment in the U.S. as a positive opportunity for the U.S. as well as China. After all, these Chinese companies have to operate on the U.S. playing field, under U.S. regulations, contributing to the local tax base, and hiring Americans. The U.S. has the responsibility and advantage to guide these companies to better governance practices. In turn, China could play a role in helping to revive the U.S. economy.
While making the short documentary "Made by China in America," we zeroed in on the manufacturing sector in the South. During research, one particular story grabbed my attention: a spinning mill in China was closing down and moving to South Carolina, a state with a long history of textile production that lost a majority of its jobs to overseas labor 15-20 years ago. We went to South Carolina to speak with the local communities whose lives have been directly affected by the Chinese economic boom. Our story begins with the impact of version 1.0 and ends on version 2.0.
Read MoreApple locks in key partnership in China
Walking through the ruins of an abandoned mill, Jack, a retired textile worker, tells a poignant tale of the heydays of this state-of-the-art plant and its subsequent shutdown when jobs went overseas. Yet, he's ready to go back to the mills in a heartbeat if the Chinese bring them back, because, he says, "It's in our blood."
Danny, another factory worker, witnessed the emptying out of a facility that once employed around 500 people, and the friendships lost as a result. Today he's the only employee to transition with the building to the new Chinese owner. He's glad that jobs are coming back: "It's really brought hope to a lot of people that don't have jobs."
Chinese firms invested over $14 billion and created close to 80,000 jobs in the U.S. economy in 2013, according to studies by the Rhodium Group. These are small numbers in the scope of the U.S. economy, but, as we saw and heard from struggling communities like those in South Carolina, they are making a difference for local economic revival.
Manufacturing may not all be coming back to the U.S., but the very fact that Chinese companies are now investing in U.S. manufacturing is generating some hope for that sector.
Read MoreJack Ma is tired and doesn't like being rich
A Chinese proverb goes, "If you want one year of prosperity, grow grain. If you want ten years of prosperity, grow trees. If you want one hundred years of prosperity, grow people."
Chinese and Americans working together and learning from each other have immense potential to create long-term advancement in prosperity for all. I also hope that mutual understanding could lead to a more humanistic perspective of the world. Let's start by laying the foundation for that potential to be unleashed.
Commentary by Miao Wang, the director of "Made by China in America," a documentary on Chinese firms opening manufacturing facilities in the U.S. that is part of Morgan Spurlock's "We The Economy" series. Wang is an award-winning filmmaker focused on creative and cinematic films that inspire cultural understanding and a more humanist perspective of the world. Her films include Beijing Taxi, Yellow Ox Mountain, and Maine-land (work in progress). Follow her on Twitter @miaowang.
Watch filmmaker Morgan Spurlock discuss his new film series, 'We The Economy'