• Greater Manchester signs new exploratory partnership agreement with Fujitsu to support development of Investment Zone
  • Agreement will explore opportunities to apply Fujitsu’s technical expertise to Greater Manchester’s manufacturing sector
  • Investment Zone is intended to provide £160m of public funding to support businesses, help create 32,000 jobs and leverage private investment
  • Deal struck during Greater Manchester mission to Japan, led by Mayor Andy Burnham and Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Lead for Economy Business, and Inclusive Growth
  • Decarbonisation efforts supported by further agreements with SSE Energy Solutions and Daikin

Greater Manchester leaders have signed a new exploratory partnership agreement with Fujitsu which is linked to the Japanese technology leader supporting the development of Greater Manchester’s Investment Zone.

Through the agreement, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will work with Fujitsu to determine where the company’s technological expertise can enhance Greater Manchester’s already world-leading manufacturing sector. Together, Greater Manchester and Fujitsu will explore opportunities to deploy the company’s expertise in information technology, automation, and artificial intelligence to help Greater Manchester manufacturers innovate, improve their processes, and increase their productivity.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Lead for Economy, Business, and Inclusive Growth, and Vivek Mahajan, Chief Technology Officer at Fujitsu, signed the agreement at a meeting held on Friday 8 December at the company’s head office in Tokyo.

The Greater Manchester Investment Zone is intended to provide £160m of public funding over ten years to initiatives to support businesses in Greater Manchester, helping to create 32,000 jobs and leverage private sector investment. The programme plans to build on the city-region’s technological and economic strengths in advanced manufacturing and materials, accelerating the development of growth locations including ID Manchester, with over £1bn of private investment, and Atom Valley. GMCA will continue to work with Government and other partners to co-develop the plans for their Investment Zone, including priority development sites and specific interventions to drive cluster growth, ahead of final confirmation of plans.

Fujitsu employs around 7,000 people across the UK, which is one of its most significant markets outside Japan. Fujitsu’s Manchester site is a critical hub for its UK business, supporting some of its largest global customers.  Manchester is a key focus for its 2022 investment in its Centre for Cognitive and Advanced Technologies and is home to the company’s digital academies programme, which is investing in its future skills requirements.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said:

 “Partnering with Fujitsu is a massive boost for Greater Manchester’s Investment Zone just weeks after its announcement. The Investment Zone is an exciting programme that gives us the opportunity to attract private sector partners who can help deliver the ambition for Greater Manchester to be a global hub for the advanced manufacturing and materials sector.

“The agreement also serves as a further demonstration of the value of our trade mission to Japan, working to build a partnership with a global technology company, whose support will directly help Greater Manchester businesses. By supporting the growth of those businesses, we can deliver more jobs and opportunities to people across our city-region.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Lead for Economy, Business, and Inclusive Growth, said: 

“Our city-region has had links with Fujitsu for over 75 years, going back to the collaboration between the company and the University of Manchester to develop early computer systems. Today, we’re proud that Fujitsu’s Manchester office is a major hub for its UK business.  

“This partnership agreement will see us continue to work together for years to come. Fujitsu’s technologies can help Greater Manchester manufacturers become more efficient, sustainable and profitable, supporting our Investment Zone vision and the growth of our advanced manufacturing and materials sector.”

Vivek Mahajan, Chief Technology Officer at Fujitsu, said: 

“This agreement offers an exciting chance to explore how we can use Fujitsu’s strengths in technologies like artificial intelligence to address challenges unique to the manufacturing industry and encourage innovative solutions to problems facing the community. We look forward to working together to identify ways to support the sustainable growth and development of Greater Manchester business.”

The Mayor and Cllr Craig led a Greater Manchester delegation on a week-long mission to Japan aimed at furthering bilateral ties in trade, investment, decarbonisation, culture, and sport.

Greater Manchester leaders also agreed to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SSE Energy Solutions during a visit to the company’s Japanese arm, SSE Pacifico. Under the agreement SSE Energy Solutions will work the GMCA to explore ways to accelerate the delivery of renewable energy assets through the use of cutting-edge digital infrastructure solutions in Greater Manchester. This will made possible through the upskilling of the regions residents, businesses and local supply chain through a range of green skills programmes being delivered across the region.

Building on the partnership between Greater Manchester and Japanese manufacturer Daikin, the company is launching a market-leading finance offers to support installers. Working with finance partner, Hiber, this industry-leading proposition allows installers to offer a 0% finance offer to help keep costs low for their customers. The offer will enable an average household in Greater Manchester to install an air source heat pump (ASHP) at a lower cost than a new gas boiler. Further details about the scheme will be released in the new year.

Neil Kirkby, Managing Director at SSE Energy Solutions, said:

 “At SSE we want to become the leading net zero infrastructure advisor to both local government and local businesses and this MoU with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is a key example of our ambitions to achieve this.

“We believe strongly in a just and fair transition to net zero and our new Social Value strategy will drive that forward. Decarbonising the country presents opportunities to support communities with regeneration, economic investment, and the creation of sustainable, long-term jobs.”

Iain Bevan, Commercial Manager for Daikin UK, said:

 “At Daikin we have almost 100 years of experience in heat pump technology and are a leading player in the European heat pump heating market. We are committed to leading energy for change and are excited to be playing a key role in the decarbonisation of Greater Manchester and the wider UK.”