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Manchester China Forum’s second win at Greater China Awards

2 March 2021

Categories: China

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Manchester China Forum

On Friday 19th February, Manchester China Forum (MCF) was presented with the Recognition Award for the second time at the Greater China Awards, organised by the Department for International Trade North West. MCF becomes the first organisation to receive this award for a second time in the 16 year history of the event.

The Greater China Business Awards honour significant contributions to developing business links with Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, in addition to celebrating the Chinese New Year in the year of the Ox.

The Recognition Award celebrates organisations in North West of England that have made a significant contribution to developing business, innovating or building collaborative partnerships with companies based in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan.

Launched in 2013, the MCF is Greater Manchester’s special-purpose vehicle tasked with building strong, long-term, and coordinated links between GM and China. This recognition has largely been powered by their work in continuing to strengthen trading and commercial relationships with the Chinese markets, as highlighted in recent news with total exports passing the £10bn mark in the last six years. This also builds on the tremendous effort that MCF and organisations from Greater Manchester put in last year to ensure that more than 7,000 Chinese students arrived for their studies at universities in Manchester as well as 28 other Universities across the UK.

According to the figures released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the country’s GDP grew by 6.5% in Q4, with an overall growth of 2.3% for 2020 highlighting the importance the Chinese market will play in driving future economic growth. With the country’s 400 million middle class expected to grow by a further 200-300 million over the next 3-4 years, this market which already accounts for over 50% of the world’s e-commerce market, is expected to be a major source of growth in trading exports for the UK over the coming years. In addition, China’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, hitting peak emissions before 2030, presents significant opportunities to collaborate around Greater Manchester’s own 2038 carbon neutrality ambitions. As we look forward to the UK’s hosting of COP26, enhancing collaboration around low-carbon technologies will play a critical role in unlocking opportunities in a decarbonisation market estimated to reach $15trn by 2050.

The event included Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for China John Edwards; Marian Sudbury, Director of UK Regions of the Department for International Trade as well as Paul Stowers, Head UK Regions, North West, Department for International Trade who presented the award:

“Despite the variety of global challenges that have emerged over the last year ranging from the US-China trade war, Brexit and now COVID-19; the region’s links with China continue to grow from strength to strength.

Much of this success can be attributed to this organisation’s consistent approach, taking a long-term view of developing relationships focusing on three priorities - government, business and people; ensuring that the relationships and strategies developed are holistic and can easily adapt to changing priorities.

“This approach has ensured that the organisation was in an excellent position to work with partners on a comprehensive response to COVID-19, whilst still fulfilling its core role of developing strong economic links with China.  It linked with airlines and Manchester airport, local Federations, Universities, the Chinese Consulate General, and local companies to provide donations of PPE – initially from the UK to China, and then as the progress of the pandemic moved – from China back to the UK. It helped to co-ordinate the exchange of expertise between professionals at the front-line of responding to the pandemic in China and the UK; and also worked with government, universities and airlines to establish the potential for charter flights for international student coming from China to the NW, once travel restrictions permit this. ”

Rhys Whalley, Executive Director, MCF welcomed the Recognition Award as a reflection of the city-wide commitment to developing a collective approach to building long-term relationship with China and ensuring that Greater Manchester remains at the forefront of shaping an exciting Global Britain vision. He commented:

“We’re humbled to be the first organisation to receive the Recognition Award for a second time at the 2021 Greater China Awards, organised by the Department for International Trade. We’re very grateful to the continued support and commitment of our Board Members and strategic partners across Greater Manchester. This has been an incredibly challenging year for all and one that we are indebted to all of our fantastic front-line workers that have worked tirelessly in tackling the pandemic. To have received this award off the back of such a difficult and challenging year feels all the more special and serves as further justification of our approach to maintaining a long-term strategy of engagement with one of the world’s most important and arguably most complex global relationships. This award is testament to Greater Manchester’s culture of collaboration and the positive impact this can have locally as well as further afield.”

David Percival MBE, Chairman, MCF, said:

“I am delighted to see that the Manchester China Forum has been rewarded for a second time with the DIT Recognition Award at the Greater China Awards. This is another fantastic achievement and one that highlights the incredible success that the organisations has had in advancing the city-region’s links with China. Greater Manchester is very much seen as a leader in driving forward regional engagement between the two nations.”


Full list of awards winners

Recognition Award

Manchester China Forum

Business Award – For companies that have links with Greater China for more than three years.

Winner – Wood.

Rising Star Award - For companies relatively new to the market, that have had links with the region for less than three years.

Winner – Lucas Xia of Easyuk International Ltd

Runner-up – Fresh Business Services

Education Links Award - For Universities, Higher Education Institutions and businesses offering training and education links to Greater China

Winner – RNCM

Runner-up – St Bees School

Highly Commended – NCUK Together

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