Manchester is continuing to strengthen its links with the economic powerhouse of China, having recently hosted a successful visit to the city for the Chinese Embassy.
The two-day visit to Greater Manchester in May was supported by MIDAS, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), and China Britain Business Council (CBBC).
Representatives from the Chinese Embassy received a formal welcome at Manchester Town Hall by Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, before continuing with a series of meetings between the Chinese Embassy and some of Greater Manchester’s businesses that are either Chinese owned, or have trading links with the country. These included Tetrosyl, Chint, Boardman Bros Ltd, Vernacare, CQME / Holroyds, and BDP Architects.
Zhou Xiaoming, minister counsellor for the Chinese Embassy, said: “We’ve visited quite a number of companies in the last two days. We have talked with the City Council and have been impressed by what we have seen here, by the enthusiasm of the local companies to do business in China as well as the work they are already doing in the Chinese market.
“Manchester is well known in China for a number of reasons, but especially for its football: Manchester United and Manchester City have a large following in China. Manchester is also well known for its research and development. The University of Manchester has a large student population and has produced 25 Nobel Prize winners which is really something to show to the world. Manchester is a strong base and has a good performance in terms of exporting goods to the Chinese market. In 2010, the exports to China from Manchester accounted to 1 billion US dollars and there is still huge potential for growth.”
Tim Newns, chief executive of MIDAS, said: “The development of the Chinese Market is incredibly important to Greater Manchester and the UK in general. There is still a huge amount of work to be done to increase our trade and investment links to China – although the North West and Greater Manchester does relatively well in UK terms – to put us in a similar position to Germany which has been particularly successful over the last few years.
“Recently, we’ve seen the eurozone contract slightly in terms of inward investment, but this has been countered by Greater Manchester receiving strong levels of investment from Asia-Pacific – from both India and China – which have helped to replace some of the European investment the city region has traditionally attracted.
“Longer term, China will soon be the largest economy in the world. It has a huge developing consumer population and it’s therefore absolutely vital that we look to increase our links with China through a sustainable and long-term strategy, which promotes mutual benefit from bilateral trade between the two nations.”
Click here to see video footage of the recent visit.