Following the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer’s visit in September, Barbara Woodward paid her first solo visit to Chengdu as British Ambassador to China on 19-20 November.
During her visit, Ambassador Woodward met the Executive Vice Governor of Sichuan province, Wang Ning, and the Mayor of Chengdu, Tang Liangzhi, and exchanged views on the U.K.-Sichuan/Chengdu bilateral relationships. In her meetings, the Ambassador highlighted President Xi’s successful state visit to the U.K. in October.
She also discussed the Chancellor’s visit to Chengdu in September in which he introduced the Northern Powerhouse. In addition, the Ambassador visited the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and delivered a speech on the U.K.-China Golden Age: Joint Efforts to a Green and Low Carbon Future to hundreds of students to highlight the U.K.’s and China’s cooperation on clean energy, smart cities, and other areas of low carbon development.
She also visited the Gerontology Department and the Tele-health Department of West China Hospital, the second-largest hospital in China. She promised to invite more of the U.K.’s healthcare organisations to Go West and to expand cooperation with West China Hospital and across Sichuan in developing new hospitals, in delivering education and training, and in informatics, telemedicine, and elderly care.
The Ambassador also participated in an Empowering Women: Growing Your Career Talk at Fangsuo Bookstore to share her personal experiences with female university students on her own growth and career development.
There are now more than 94 U.K. companies registered and doing business in Chengdu and Sichuan—nine of the 94 are in the world’s top 500 companies—in sectors ranging from financial and professional services, aerospace, engineering, construction, and manufacturing.
The Chinese Embassy in London launched a special website for Chinese people visiting the U.K. for tourism, study, and business. The website provides comprehensive information about British sightseeing, life, study, investment, and British traditions and food as well.
It also provides information about British customs declaration, transportation, healthcare, banking, communication services, accommodations, recreational activities, climate, environment, travel, leisure, and how to apply for school and employment as well as for visas.
Please click here to access the website and here for further information in an article by China Daily.
CBI member The University of Birmingham announced that international research at the University received a boost thanks to successful bids for funding that will see key projects supported by the Guangzhou Municipal Government.
It continues a relationship that began with the Collaboration Framework Agreement with the Guangzhou Municipal Government that was announced in 2011, under which the Guangzhou government provides funding to support joint research between academics of the University of Birmingham and Guangzhou partners.
Four University of Birmingham-Guangzhou Municipal Government joint projects were successful in bidding for the 2016 research funding from the Guangzhou Municipal Government, including: transcranial direct stimulation (tDCS) research, T cell immunophenotype and functionality, microscopic urban rail transit stimulation, and information management and energy feedback system in battery manufacturing process.
Receiving £200,000 worth of government funding and the match funding from local partners, the research work will primarily be undertaken by the local research partner with technical support from the Birmingham academics. These projects bring together the research strengths of the University with the needs of the Guangzhou market.
The outcomes of the research projects will not only drive the economy of the region and provide social benefits but will also enhance the University’s overall engagement with China.
During 2011-2014, a total of 15 joint research projects were launched in Guangzhou under the UoB-GMG initiative. Building on this success, some of the projects also won funding from the UK research councils and China’s National Science Foundation.
CBI member Heathrow Airport Limited announced that the value of U.K. exports via Heathrow had increased 9.7% over a 12 month period as vaccines for medicine experienced almost 100% growth and Chinese demand for U.K. products continued to grow.
New data revealed over £7 billion worth of British exports travelled to China via Heathrow between August 2014 and July 2015, representing a 117% increase on the previous 12 months and over 15% of total U.K. export goods via Heathrow by value. Asian nations already make up four of the top five U.K. export destinations by value.
CBI member The University of Nottingham announced that the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) had secured RMB 5.6 million to help the Chinese construction industry use eco-friendly and “smart” building technologies.
China’s building industry currently lags behind many other industrial nations, with low production efficiency and high energy usage affecting many new-build properties. The current situation could delay the progress of Chinese “smart” cities, which aim to reduce resource consumption and cost and use digital technologies to benefit their citizens.
In a bid to tackle the issue, UNNC’s Department of Architecture and Built Environment is now leading a “GIS-BIM Based Green Smart Building Technical Innovation Team”, with support from the Ningbo Science and Technology Bureau.
The innovation team comprises 22 researchers from UNNC (from Built Environment, Civil Engineering, Computer Science, and Geographical Sciences), local design institutes, and Building Information Modeling (BIM) consulting companies in Ningbo.
The team will also invite the Ningbo construction industry’s governing body to provide resources, pilot projects, and platforms to inform the research. Over the next three years, the innovation team will explore the potential of Geographic Information System (GIS) and BIM technologies and how they can be integrated into local construction practices in Ningbo. GIS is a technical system to implement the collection, storage, management, calculation, analysis, display, and description of geospatial information data.
The results help to understand what is happening in geographical space, which can increase efficiency in building planning and design. BIM is a growing technology used in the building industry worldwide. It uses digital technics to create and use intelligent 3D models to communicate building project decisions.
In 2015, China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development announced suggestions of BIM implementation. Shanghai even set a clear timeline for the promotion of BIM, which would be started in pubic-funded projects. UNNC’s team aims to devise a platform to handle database management, modelling management, smart operation management, and lifecycle monitoring management.
Information extraction, storage, transfer, and modifications will be completed quickly on the platform and updated in the network cloud system to synchronise with smart terminals. At the end of the project, the team plans to pilot the platform on construction projects in Ningbo and to share BIM development recommendations with relevant government departments to benefit the Ningbo-based construction industry and support the future of its smart cities.
The CBI’s eleventh Director-General, Carolyn Fairbairn, will use her first day in the post to deliver a clear message about issues that she believes matter most for the long term prosperity of the UK.
In her first message to CBI members, Carolyn will say:
“The UK has a golden opportunity to move on from its strong recovery to build a new era of growth and prosperity for the whole country. Among the defining issues will be seizing the opportunities of devolution for growth outside London, closing the productivity gap, and the future of the UK’s relationship with the European Union.
“One of the most exciting opportunities for the UK over the next five years is to make the ideals behind the Northern Powerhouse and growth beyond London a reality, while at the same time supporting the capital to reach new levels of success as one of the world’s truly great cities. The CBI’s role will be to bring a strong business voice to the devolution settlements and then work with the UK’s nations and regions to build momentum for change and growth. Above all, I would like the CBI, and my leadership of it, to be judged on our achievements in making a positive impact on productivity, growth and future prosperity across the whole of the UK.
“UK productivity is 30% below that of the United States and 28% below that of Germany. In a world of accelerating global competition, this is an issue that needs to be addressed urgently. The solutions lie in innovation, people and leadership and in tackling long-term weaknesses in skills and infrastructure.”
On Europe, Carolyn will say:
“On Europe, most of our members want to be in a reformed EU because of the benefits of the Single Market and the CBI is clear on what those reforms are - developing the Single Market, more trade deals, less and better regulation, as well as ensuring that the integrity of non-Eurozone countries such as the UK is protected.
“The CBI does have some members who feel that the UK should leave the EU, or who understandably want to see the outcome of the reforms before finally making a decision. We know this because we are a consultative organisation – and over the last three years, we have held over 130 consultation events with our members across the country. Those members who take a different view on the EU speak up, we listen to and respect their views, and we will consult with them – and all CBI members - again when the Government’s deal has been done.”
Carolyn welcomed the Prime Minister’s letter to the President of the European Council, setting out his reform agenda, as an important step forward. “It set out four areas of reform that touch on most of the concerns of UK business. Our members are supportive of this direction of travel and we look forward to working with the Government to deliver it, and to helping establish how the reforms might work in practice.”
Carolyn Fairbairn at a glance
Carolyn becomes Director-General of the CBI after over 25 years’ experience in UK business, spanning a range of operational and board roles in manufacturing, media, management consultancy and banking. She has extensive boardroom experience, including as a non-executive director of Lloyds Banking Group, The Vitec Group (a medium-sized photographic and broadcast equipment supplier), global outsourcer Capita, the Competition and Markets Authority and UK Statistics Authority. Between 2008 and 2011, Carolyn was a Non-Executive Director of the Financial Services Authority.
As Director of Strategy and Distribution at the BBC she created and launched Freeview. She was also Director of Group Development and Strategy at ITV from 2007-2010.
As a McKinsey consultant and partner, she advised companies across the UK on issues of competitiveness and growth. She worked with firms in sectors as diverse as brewing, DIY retailing, computer services, investment management and newspapers, advising on mergers, business expansion, cost control and global competitiveness. Carolyn later became one of the leaders of McKinsey’s UK media practice, specialising in digital strategy.
From 1995-97, she was seconded from McKinsey as a Special Adviser in Number 10’s Policy Unit, where she advised on health and social services.
She began her career as an economist at the World Bank, before joining The Economist newspaper as a business and financial journalist.
Carolyn read Economics at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, graduating with a double-First (1983). She holds a MBA with Distinction from the European Institute of Business Administration (INSEAD), and a MA in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.
16 November 2015
Notes to Editors:
Read Carolyn’s first interview with Business Voice, the CBI’s digital magazine for members.
You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at @CBICarolyn
Across the UK, the CBI speaks on behalf of 190,000 businesses of all sizes and sectors which together employ nearly 7 million people, about one third of the private sector-employed workforce. With offices in the UK as well as representation in Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Delhi, the CBI communicates the British business voice around the world.
The China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) has published the China Business Handbook 2016 to help guide U.K. companies of all sizes and sectors in China.
The content draws directly on the experience and expertise of more than 20 of the U.K.’s most successful organisations in China, with each contributing sections in their specific area of expertise.
The handbook covers crucial areas such as exporting to China, e-commerce, free trade zones, tax system, custom procedures, marketing, human resources and employment law compliance, due diligence, intellectual property, and business disputes.
The China Business Handbook 2016 is open to all to download, without charge, to encourage more companies to engage with China. Readers can access the full guide or download one of the 25 plus chapters relevant to their needs.