China visit helping to open up new markets for Midlands businesses
A trade mission to China has been hailed ‘highly successful’ after preparing the ground for agreements and deals that will drive economic growth and investment across the region.
The region is already attracting major investment from China, especially in football. Wolves is now owned by Fosun and West Bromwich Albion by Yunyi Guokai.
MG Rover is also now in Nanjing Automotive ownership.
Midlands Engine chairman Sir John Peace led a delegation of business leaders, scientists and university representatives.
He said: “This was a highly successful trade mission which reinforced our relationships at governmental and commercial levels.
“We’ve also opened a lot of doors that will no doubt pay dividends for some significant agreements and deals in the region over the coming years.
“This is great news for the Midlands and demonstrates how we are seeking to open up global markets and drive economic growth and investment.”
The mission, which was the first to be co-ordinated and led by the Midlands Engine, visited Guizhou, Zhejiang and Shanghai during the week and a packed agenda saw meetings with the governors of Guizhou and Zhejiang, education department officials, airport and airline representatives, senior officers from Alibaba, Geely and space centre FAST.
The mission looked at developing direct cargo and passenger flights, education, innovation, sport and culture, tourism and commercial deals.
China is considered a key market for trade links with the Midlands in the hope of boosting exports.
The mission was shaped by the Midlands Engine China Strategy which highlights the need to invest in relationships to allow future commercial deals in support of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
Sir John added: “We have made significant progress with all of our objectives and remain confident that we can start to see some action in many of these areas as a direct result of the mission.
“Establishing strong relationships is critical ahead of any trade deals and the Midlands Engine has shown how it can add value not only at the high level in terms of promoting the region and establishing strategic relations but also at the more granular business-to-business level.”
Gerard Haughey, head of global trade and receivables finance at HSBC UK, said: “China values UK hi-tech goods and specialist expertise in fast-growth areas. Businesses need to develop strong relationships within the Chinese market to seize the country’s US $8 trillion import opportunity.
“The Midlands is at the heart of manufacturing in the UK and the region is home to innovative and forward-thinking businesses that are increasingly exporting to the world. China has moved up the value chain and its businesses are using AI and Big Data more and more, as part of their growth plans.
“Businesses in the Midlands are in a fantastic position to take advantage of China’s consumer and infrastructure growth, as demand for UK goods and services increases.”
The week-long trade mission from November 23 to 30 took in three provinces