A number of high profile speakers recently attended an event at the Rose Bowl, Leeds Metropolitan University to unveil a programme designed to inspire and support local businesses to think about how international trade and investment can help them grow their business. With China very much on the agenda, companies in Leeds are being encouraged to consider doing business with large and familiar cities in China as Leeds prepares to host the Chinese Olympic Committee headquarters in July.
A range of seminars, workshops and conferences will take place from May-July, as well as an inward trade delegation from China. They include:
• Understanding and benefiting from Chinese outward investments, 6th June – 8.00am until 10.00am, University of Leeds
• UK Export Controls – Exporting to the China Market, 20th June: 100.00am – 3.00pm, Squire Sanders
• Setting up in business in China: Live coverage from experts in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Leeds, 8th June: 8.00am – 10.00am, Pinsent Masons
• Hangzhou Business Delegation, 10th-11th July, Marketing Leeds and Leeds City Council
• Understanding Chinese Business Culture, 11th July: 9.30am – 12.00 noon, UKTI and China-Britain Business Council
At the Rose Bowl event, keynote speaker, the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China, Pan Yundong, said “China’s growth has been sustained and the economy grew 8.7 per cent in 2009, the best performance of all major economies and the Chinese government remains very open to FDI. “Based on China’s new five year plan, Chinese firms are increasingly looking to invest overseas. Within the European Union the UK is one of the major recipients of Chinese investments and I am encouraged at the Leeds Gold programme of events. Throughout the programme, the rationale for Chinese investments in the UK and UK investments in China will be clear and will indicate how regions and businesses could raise their profile to Chinese investors, who are increasingly looking to Europe. I hope the Leeds Gold business programme provides broad development, faster channels, greater choices and developing connections in China.”
China is now in very easy reach of Leeds with airline KLM operating flights from Leeds Bradford Airport via Amsterdam to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Bejing Xiamen.
Claire Urry, of the China-Britain Business Council, who also spoke at the event, said: “My top tip for companies wishing to invest in or trade with China is understand your market and understand where to position yourself. For example, companies looking to manufacture only in China are found in those cities near to the coast, from the far northeast to the South of China.
Leeds Business School Professor and Project Manager, Professor John Shutt, also launched a report produced on behalf of the Prime Minister’s British Council China Research Project. “China is well known to all as a location for low cost manufacturing but in these past few years China is becoming better known for its booming domestic market, with real opportunities for low carbon industries and service sectors. The Chinese economy continues to grow at an impressive rate and its population is the largest in the world.
“In cities like Hangzhou there is strong interest in entrepreneurship and business development, employment and skills training and talent management and in Chinese companies going global and investing in the UK,
“China’s priority is to accelerate economic restructuring and with its latest five year plan, will create new opportunities for companies in Leeds in high tech manufacturing, IT and research.”
The Leeds Gold programme is being organised by Marketing Leeds, CBBC, UKTI, Leeds City Council and Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and was sponsored by Leeds Metropolitan University.
With over 250 athletes and Olympics officials based in Leeds ahead of the Games, the launch of the Leeds Gold Business Programme celebrates the important legacy of the Chinese Olympic Committee choosing Leeds as its European headquarters.