London summit set to boost UK–China trade and investment
Top British government ministers were today meeting leading UK and Chinese industrialists at a global business summit in London.
Aimed at fostering trade ties with China, the world's second largest economy, the event was opened by foreign secretary William Hague, said: "We have been working to increase our already strong bilateral ties with China, expanding our range of cooperation and adding 60 new staff across the FCO's China Network.
"China Business Day represents a clear commitment to further strengthening the UK and China's relationship, building on our growing shared interests and working together towards mutual prosperity."
In 2010, the UK and China agreed to double bilateral trade to $100bn by 2015. Last year, bilateral trade stood at over $70bn.
In figures announced by UK Trade & Investment this week, China moved up to third place as a source of inward investment projects for the UK.
And earlier this week, a consortium led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings entered into an arrangement to acquire UK gas company, Wales and West Utilities, in a deal for which the total value, including the debt component, is almost £2bn.
At the British Business Embassy summit in London's Lancaster House, business secretary Dr. Vince Cable, universities and science minister David Willetts, foreign office minister Jeremy Browne and tourism and heritage minister John Penrose were among those speaking.
The China Entrepreneur Club, which groups the leaders of businesses that account for around 4% of China's GDP, partnered on this event, which is one of 17 global business summits taking place during the Games, organised by UK Trade & Investment.
Among the Chinese industrialists who were invited by prime minister David Cameron to speak at the event are Liu Chuanzhi, chairman of the China Entrepreneur Club; Madam Sun Yafang, chairwoman of Huawei; and Guo Guangchang, co-founder of Fosun Group.
Representing the UK's creative industries were Dame Zaha Hadid, the award-winning architect who designed the Aquatics Centre in London's Olympic Park and also the Guangzhou Opera House and the Galaxy Soho in Beijing; and Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising firm WPP, which is well-established in China. Philip Dilley, group chairman of Arup, which has completed hundreds of projects in China, was also speaking.
Among the companies attending from both countries were SOHO China, Bosideng, Jaguar Land Rover and Net-a-Porter.
Secretary of state for energy and climate change Ed Davey said: "I'm particularly pleased to welcome the Chinese delegation. From solar panels to hydropower, Chinese firms are leading the world in developing the innovative clean energy technologies that will help us respond to climate change."
One of the highlights of the day was a fashion show organised by China's Eve Group, which is planning to open its European headquarters in the UK early next year, an investment estimated at £10m that will create an estimated 60 jobs.
Anglo-Chinese business cooperation
The following companies chose to profile their international business at the British Business Embassy.
China Southern Airlines (CSA), China's largest airline by passenger flow, is expanding further in the UK and opening a new office at Heathrow next month, creating eight new jobs. The company is looking into recruiting cabin staff, in-house marketing, reservation and airport support staff in the UK. In June, the airline launched a new route from Guangzhou to Heathrow, the first direct flight from southern mainland China to the UK. CSA has announced that it will add an additional three services per week for the 2012/13 winter season.
Chinese men's fashion retailer Bosideng this week opened the doors of its first overseas flagship store, which is located on London's Bond Street. Spread over six floors, the total £35m investment has created 40 new jobs in the UK, with more jobs potentially in the pipeline.
BRE is announcing that British companies have won over £600,000 of construction contracts for the Beijing Green Building Park, with more contracts in the pipeline. The British firms, which include BRE, MacFarlane Wilder Architect, Bogle Architect and Arup, have all secured commissions with Vanke, China's largest real estate developer which is responsible for the Beijing Park. The two most recent contracts awarded by Vanke are to Bogle/Arup for the design of the new Visitor Centre for the Park and to BRE for the pre-qualification selection process for the first Innovation House on the Park. The Beijing Park, modelled on the BRE Innovation Park in Watford, will open in mid September 2012. The Beijing Park project was agreed on at the UK-China London Summit in June 2011 following a visit to the BRE Innovation Park by the Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang and Business Secretary Vince Cable earlier that year.
AGA Rangemaster based in Leamington Spa and Telford, which has origins dating back to the start of the Industrial Revolution, has agreed the basis for a landmark reciprocal distribution and product development agreement with Vatti, a leading Chinese supplier of household appliances. Vatti will be selling AGA, La Cornue and Rangemaster products in China from 2013 and AGA Rangemaster aims to have 500 displays of Rangemaster appliances in Vatti new dealer stores over the next two years. AGA Rangemaster will also sell built-in products, to be developed with Vatti, in Europe through its expansive distribution channels. Vatti, designed and manufactured the Olympic torch for the Beijing Games in 2008. It has a collection of 17 Olympic torches and has brought its 1948 torch back to London for the signing of the collaboration agreement.
Tunbow Group, a Chinese manufacturer with over 20 years' experience of producing small domestic appliances and consumer electronics today announces the launch of its first subsidiary in the UK- Aves Digital Ltd. From its new base in Milton Keynes, Aves Digital will design and market Digital DAB+ Radios, Bluetooth Wireless Speakers and Docking Stations. The investment totals over £2m in 2012 and the company plans to create 10-12 jobs in the UK by 2013.
- UK firms won £2bn in business from the Beijing Games, with Foster + Partners designing Beijing International Airport and Arup providing the engineering services for the Bird's Nest stadium.
- In July 2010, China's prime minister Wen Jiabao and foreign secretary William Hague agreed that the UK and China should be "Partners for Growth".
- In November 2010, prime minister David Cameron and president Hu Jintao agreed to double bilateral trade to $100bn by 2015.
- The UK ranks alongside Germany as the largest European investor in China.
- There are opportunities for UK businesses in China in areas such as research and innovation; health and life sciences; financial and professional services; infrastructure and regional development; education; energy and resource efficiency; advanced engineering and ICT; and low carbon solutions.
- UKTI is inviting UK firms to bid for high value opportunities in mainland China (potential contracts worth over quarter of a billion pounds). These include: the design, build and management of hospitals, and energy generation (civil nuclear and wind power). There are a further five high value opportunities in Hong Kong in the construction, road and rail sectors.
- Last year, UKTI helped over 3,000 UK firms to do business in China.