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 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.
Please find below an executive summary of President Xi Jinping's recent state visit to the UK.
A detailed and comprehensive report can be downloaded at the bottom of this article.
From 20-23 October, President Xi Jinping made his state visit to the UK—the first by a Chinese president in a decade—where he was welcomed with a remarkable display of pomp, pageantry, and fanfare from the British government and Royal Family.
●Huge Chinese delegation accompanies President Xi: President Xi was accompanied by 150 Chinese business leaders, and almost 1,000 people are estimated to have travelled from China to the UK to participate in the state visit.
●Grand culmination of a very special year for UK-China relations:
Widely touted by both sides to usher in a ‘golden era’ for the bilateral relationship, the state visit marked the grand culmination of what has been a very special year for the UK-China relationship.
Key milestones in the build-up to the visit including the first ever UK-China Year of Cultural Exchange, the Duke of Cambridge’s historic outing to China in March, the UK becoming the first Western European country to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s visit to China as well as the UK-China People-to-People Dialogue last month.
●Three primary themes underpinning state visit:
The state visit was underpinned by three primary themes—signalling the openness of the UK economy to Chinese business, working together on pressing global issues, and looking to each other as ‘economies of the future’ with the growing complementarity of the UK and Chinese economies.
●Nearly £40 billion worth of agreements:
Almost £40 billion worth of commercial deals were agreed upon, spanning a wide range of sectors, such as energy, retail, financial services, aerospace, healthcare, transport, education, the creative industries, and more.
Several examples of key announcements included:
1. BP’s multi-billion dollar LNG deal with Huadian
2. Manchester Airport’s plans to host the first direct scheduled flights to mainland China outside of London.
3. Rolls-Royce’s US$2.4 billion agreement to power HNA Group’s new aircraft.
4. EDF and China General Nuclear Power Corporation’s commitment to the construction and operation of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
5. Aston Martin and China Equity’s agreement to explore the development of a production version of Aston Martin’s fully electric RapidE concept.
●Widening the scope of bilateral relations:
The visit showcased the extent to which the UK is striving to build a very broad relationship with China—stretching beyond mere trade and investment—and lay the foundation for robust ties across the government, society, and business communities.
As part of the CBI’s growing ASEAN offering we are delighted to invite you to join us at a webinar hosted by the British Embassy in Thailand on 29th October.
This is an invaluable opportunity for interested businesses to hear the latest Thailand political, economic and investment analysis from HMA Mark Kent.
Thailand is the second largest economy in South-East Asia, a market of 600m people, with a pedigree of ease of doing business and respect for British quality and ingenuity.
How does the situation on the ground look 16 months on from the coup? A new draft constitution was recently rejected, delaying elections until 2017. Coupled with this political backdrop, Thailand has not been immune to the global economic headwinds.
A new economic team is in place but how do they plan to inject confidence into the Thai economy? Will new measures to encourage FDI prove more attractive than the offers of ASEAN neighbours? And what are the opportunities for UK businesses?
Please click on the pdf download link or kindly refer to the joining instructions below.
Event title: Thailand - political, economic and investment update featuring British Ambassador, H.E. Mark Kent
Date: Thursday, 29th October 2015
Time: 08:00 UK Time / 16:00 Bangkok Time / 17:00 Beijing Time
China Direct has summarized below the key UK-China announcements made during a busy and productive week for UK-Sino relations.
Chinese Ambassador to U.K. speaks at reception in honour of KPMG Chairman
Chinese Ambassador to the U.K. Liu Xiaoming spoke at a reception held in honour of KPMG Chairman Richard Reid. The Ambassador highlighted some of Mr. Reid’s impressive contributions to strengthening relations between China and the U.K., including:
Mr.Reid established KPMG’s U.K.-China Business to work with Chinese groups as they expand overseas. KPMG has played an important role in facilitating investments between China and the U.K.
In 2012, KPMG was involved in seven out of the eight major Chinese investments in the U.K., including CIC’s investment in Thames Water and Heathrow Airport.
KPMG has been a leading advisor for China’s potential investment in the U.K.’s nuclear power generating market.
KPMG assisted Jaguar Land Rover to enter the Chinese market and form a joint venture with Chery Auto.
Please read the full transcript of the Ambassador’s speech here.
U.K. Chancellor announces £3 million funding for grassroots football programme
U.K. Chancellor George Osborne announced a £3 million funding boost for a revolutionary grassroots football programme in China, supporting thousands of young people.
Speaking during a visit to the Soong Ching Ling Football School in Urumqi, the Chancellor announced new funding to provide training for over 5,000 new football coaches, significantly increasing Chinese awareness of the thriving football sector in the U.K.
The extension of the highly successful Premier Skills football coaching programme, run by the British Council and the Premier League, will also see it reach Xinjiang for the very first time. The initiative, which started in 2008, focuses on creating new coaches and referees across the world and inspiring young people to get involved in football.
So far the programme has trained 1,100 coaches and reached nearly 500,000 young people in China. The announcement follows a new agreement between the British and Chinese governments to work together in developing sports education, including new collaborations on sports policy, the training of coaches and referees, and a new joint accreditation in football coaches for PE teachers.
The Chancellor said, “Grassroots football plays an instrumental role in U.K. life, and it is brilliant to be able to spread that to China. This fantastic scheme which will bring new opportunities to young people across China will also help bring increased awareness and investment into the U.K. football sector.” Please read more here.
U.K. Chancellor announces support measures to showcase British culture
U.K. Chancellor announced a raft of support measures to open up some of the country’s best arts and culture to Chinese audiences. Examples include:
British Library to display some of its most iconic literary treasures in China for first time ever: Ten handwritten manuscripts and early editions by some of the best-known British authors of all time, from William Shakespeare to the Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, will star in pop-up exhibitions across China between 2016 and 2019. The British Library will also begin creating related online resources in Mandarin. This follows the opening of a new display at the British Library in London showcasing 3,000 years of Chinese writing, from ancient engraved animal bones to a vast 15th century encyclopaedia.
Shakespeare’s Globe to tour China with revival of The Merchant of Venice: To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death next year, Shakespeare’s Globe will tour China with a revival of The Merchant of Venice, which premiered at the Globe in April this year to full houses for over 6 weeks. £500,000 of government funding will also develop a training programme for Chinese arts organisations to develop their learning and community projects. This complements the £1.5 million investment announced at the 2014 UK-China Economic Financial Dialogue in support of the Royal Shakespeare Company for the translation of Shakespeare into Mandarin and the translation of seminal Chinese plays into English.
£500,000 to support Royal Opera House training programme for Chinese students: The Royal Opera House currently provides training to Chinese delegations on an ad hoc basis, so this Sino-U.K. funding will offer Chinese students the opportunity to travel to London for intensive training courses with world-leading arts institutions.
New Love China Festival at Southbank Centre: This will celebrate the U.K.’s cultural links with China through workshops, exhibitions and performances showcasing the best of music, theatre, fashion, design, dance, comedy, and literature from the U.K. and China. It builds on the success of the Southbank Centre’s annual Alchemy Festival celebrating the U.K.’s links with the Indian subcontinent.
£250,000 for National Theatre of Great Britain, working in collaboration with National Theatre of China to develop tour of War Horse across China: The tour will follow its recent performances in Beijing and Shanghai. The show will be produced, operated, and performed by 90 Chinese artists and technicians who have been trained as part of the strategic skills exchange between the two national theatres.
£1.3 million to support presentation in China of Tate’s exhibition of British art, Landscapes of the Mind: British Landscape Painting (1700 – 2007): The exhibition comprises over one hundred celebrated works drawn from Tate’s unrivalled collection of British art, including David Hockney’s ‘Bigger Trees near Water’. Most of these will be presented in China for the first time. This exhibition, which has travelled to Mexico City and São Paulo, will forge a new museum partnership for Tate in China and follows the successful presentation of a landmark Turner exhibition at the National Art Museum of China, in Beijing in 2009.
Victoria & Albert Museum to create new system for interpreting Chinese images: £300,000 of funding will support the initial stages of creating a bilingual English-Mandarin database of pre-1900 Chinese cultural and literary sources.
£700,000 to showcase tourism in North of England as part of Northern Powerhouse: The Chancellor’s visit to China was a key opportunity to highlight the economic and cultural impetus of the U.K.’s Northern Powerhouse, and the campaign will encourage Chinese visitors to explore the Yorkshire moors, Beatrix Potter, and Wordsworth countryside in the Lake District, and historical sites such as Hadrian’s Wall.
£1.3 million for VisitBritain ‘culture is GREAT’ campaign in China: This will highlight Britain’s cultural capital. Sally Balcombe, VisitBritain’s CEO, also joined the Chancellor during his tour of China.
New Eden Project in Qingdao: The Eden Project has signed a deal, worth up to £5 million, for a new Eden Project in Qingdao—the company’s first development outside of the U.K.
U.K. Chancellor opens £11.8 billion HS2 bidding process
U.K. Chancellor George Osborne announced a major new milestone for the government’s High Speed 2 rail project (HS2), kick-starting the bidding process for phase one of the mega construction project.
At least seven new contracts will be opened up to companies, with a total combined value of £11.8 billion. The Chancellor made the announcement at an event in Chengdu, aimed at wooing some of China’s biggest investors to be part of the project as well as a raft of other major U.K. infrastructure projects.
Mr. Osborne also announced a new ‘HS2 partnering day’ between British and Chinese firms to explore joining up on bids for contracts, as well as launching the Northern Powerhouse pitchbook. HS2 forms a major part of the government’s plan to rebalance the U.K. economy and build a Northern Powerhouse by providing high speed rail services from London to the Midlands and the North.
Construction of phase 1 is due to start in 2017 and, when opened, will slash the travel time between London and Birmingham from one hour and 21 minutes to 49 minutes. The government is organising an ‘HS2 partnering day’ to give Chinese companies an opportunity to meet U.K. firms and establish potential partnerships to join up on bids.
The Chancellor is also inviting Chinese participation in the HS2 skills college, which is due to open in 2017. A skills-swap programme would allow the U.K. to benefit from China’s expertise as a world leader on High Speed Rail and help Chinese investors better understand the U.K. market. The Chancellor is also encouraging Chinese companies to take part in an HS2 ‘regeneration tour’, which would involve visiting areas of huge commercial opportunity in London, the Midlands, and the North. Investors would have the chance to meet with relevant local authorities and visit station sites. Please read more here.
U.K. Chancellor George Osborne showcased a selection of £24 billion worth of investment opportunities in the North of England at an event in Chengdu with senior Chinese investors.
The Chancellor said there are unprecedented opportunities for Chinese investment into the Northern Powerhouse as the U.K. and China enter a golden era of economic cooperation.
Infrastructure and regeneration investment projects such as the Atlantic Gateway, a series of projects connecting the Port of Liverpool to the City of Manchester, and Science Central, a cutting-edge development in the heart of Newcastle, are set out in a new Northern Pitchbook that was presented in Chengdu.
At the same time, Britain’s Northern leaders said a new wave of transformational Chinese investment can revolutionise Northern infrastructure. Key projects for which investment is sought include:
Manchester Place—an opportunity to deliver three new zones of more than 10,000 homes with a combined value of over £3 billion
Sheffield Retail Quarter—working with Sheffield City Council to create new city centre homes and centrally located offices
South Bank, Leeds—a new regeneration scheme covering more than 130 hectares in the city centre
Alongside the Pitchbook, the Chancellor also announced:
potentially doubling Enterprise Zones across the North
commissioning a new government report looking at existing links between U.K. and Chinese cities to help the U.K. better understand how it can attract more trade with China
a commitment to reinvigorate partnerships between Northern and Chinese cities, including Sheffield’s Sister City agreement with Chengdu, which has fostered significant business, civic, and cultural links since 2010
the secondment of staff from the China Rail Construction Corporation, the world’s largest railway company, to Mott MacDonald, the U.K.-based management, engineering, and development consultancy, in Manchester
the findings of a city-clusters research project based on the Chongqing-Chengdu cluster and the Northern Powerhouse
a new service, established by Lancaster University, to bring together U.K. and Chinese universities, researchers and businesses to take research to commercialisation
a new joint PhD programme to teach the next generation of Chinese Radio Astronomers at the Square Kilometre Array headquarters at Jodrell Bank
a new offer on the Chevening Scholarship Programme to those in the Northern Powerhouse who wish to strengthen ties with Chinese students. Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, and York universities (the ‘N8’) have all expressed an interest so far
UKTI and Shanghai FTZ partner to help U.K. companies with e-commerce sales
U.K. Business Secretary Sajid Javid signed a partnership agreement on behalf of U.K. Trade and Investment (UKTI) with the Shanghai Cross-Border e-Commerce Public Platform.
The signing took place at the first ever China-U.K. Cross-Border e-Commerce Cooperation Roundtable organised by the Bank of China in Shanghai. The partnership was organised as part of UKTI’s e-Exporting Programme.
The agreement will support U.K. exporters and help promote their online sales in China by helping them to find new customers, build brand awareness, and analyse Chinese consumer requirements. The Shanghai Cross-border e-commerce Public Platform will work with UKTI to:
provide help to U.K. companies wishing to sign up to e-commerce platforms registered in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (FTZ)
encourage e-commerce platforms registered in the Shanghai FTZ to run a marketing campaign promoting U.K. brands on their platforms
share information to help U.K. companies understand the opportunities in China and how they can be optimised through e-channels in the Shanghai FTZ
UKTI will work to grow the volume of U.K. online exports to China through the Shanghai FTZ e-marketplace by:
delivering a programme with U.K. partners to increase the number of companies seeking to export through global e-marketplaces
promoting opportunities for U.K. companies to grow their business in China through e-marketplaces
working with partners and private sector experts to provide peer-to-peer mentoring for U.K. companies seeking to export through e-channels
delivering a retail and brands campaign across relevant e-commerce platforms in the Shanghai FTZ
New generation of British students get a taste of China in Ningbo internship scheme
Ten British students from the Generation UK Nottingham-Ningbo Summer School, have been gaining work experience in a Chinese business through a product design internship in Ningbo.
The five day internship, which was with the company Oulin Kitchen Utensils, was part of a new three week summer school jointly organised by Generation UK - China and The University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC).
The aim of the internship was to provide students with an understanding of Chinese business and industry. In addition to students from The University of Nottingham, other students involved in the programme came from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Aberdeen, Imperial College and King’s College London, as well as a further ten local students from UNNC.
Generation UK – China, which is run by British Council, aims to help students from the UK boost their employability, enhance their long-term job prospects and develop a global mindset through study and work experience opportunities in China.
During their five day internship with Oulin, a leading Chinese kitchen utensil brand, the students visited different company departments, including the marketing department, international department and design department.
The students were also grouped into several small teams in order to work on a project focusing either on a UK promotion plan for Oulin, or new innovation ideas for existing products. At the end of the week, each group submitted a proposal and presented their project to an audience of Oulin executives.
One of the students who took part in the programme at Oulin, Caitlin Grupping, said: “This internship has allowed me to see China in a different way. I have been able to see how a company operates, to talk to staff and learn more about Chinese business culture. It has been a really interesting internship.”
Shaosong Hu, Director of Product Design at Oulin, was very impressed by the students’ presentations, he said: “Although five days is a very short time period, the students provided us with first-hand experience from the perspective of UK customers, their creative ideas and designs impressed us a lot.”
Explaining why Oulin was chosen to provide the internship, Sarina Liu, Development Manager at UNNC and organiser of the week’s activities, commented: “As one of China’s most active areas of private enterprise, Ningbo’s economic transformation is highly representative of China’s move from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’. Oulin has been at the forefront of this transformation. We hope the British students, coming to China for the first time can feel the fusion of Chinese and Western business cultures within this vibrant business and cultural environment.”
Professor Chris Rudd, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Business Engagement at The University of Nottingham, was very pleased with the success of the internship: “I am delighted by the positive feedback we have received from both the participating students and Oulin,” said Professor Rudd. “This internship not only gave the students the chance to gain professional experience in the context of China and its business culture, but it also provided Oulin with the opportunity to learn more about UK customers.
“The University of Nottingham Ningbo China is a pioneer for China-UK relations and successful programmes such as the Generation UK - Nottingham Ningbo Summer School are an excellent way to help students gain knowledge of Chinese business practices and culture, improve their employability and ultimately create new links between China and the UK.”