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Since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese province of Shandong in June 2005, the links between China and the British Midlands have become ever stronger. As a result, more Chinese companies than ever are choosing the British Midlands as the ideal place to base their European operations.
The Region is home the one of the UK’s largest China towns and with it’s excellent labour markets, unrivalled communications and thriving industrial communities.
The Memorandum of Understanding was designed to build on the good relations between the British Midlands and China that were first established 20 years ago between the cities of Coventry and Jinan. This agreement has since led to many important co-operation agreements between the British Midlands’ regional chambers of commerce and equivalent organisations in Shandong and Beijing and significant visits, including a co-operation visit to the British Midlands region by the Governor of Shandong.
Most recently, Birmingham, the British Midlands’ largest city, signed an economic co-operation agreement with Guangzhou, a city of key economical importance in China’s Pearl River Delta area. Birmingham also has extensive links with Nanjing, thanks in particular to the investment of the Nanjing Automobile company in an assembly plant there. The city is a natural home to many Chinese companies because it has one of the UK’s largest “Chinatowns”, with a wealth of restaurants, shops, community and cultural facilities.
Nottingham is another key British Midlands city fostering strong links with China. The prestigious University of Nottingham became the first foreign university to establish a base in China, when it opened a campus in Ningbo. The two cities have also formalised business links and become ‘sister’ cities, with high-level delegations going both ways. Further deepening ties, a Nottingham Business Development office has opened at the Ningbo campus to help Chinese companies realise opportunities in the British Midlands.
John Connelly, Regional and International Manager, at Nottingham City Council said: “We recognise China as a massive economic opportunity and a huge, expanding market with a very dynamic private sector. We hope the new office will open up opportunities for investing in the UK.”
Facilitating these partnerships and others like it is a new China Business Bureau, funded by the British Midlands. Mike Carr, Executive Director of Business Services at the British Midlands said: “The China Business Bureau is a source of expertise and knowledge for the region, delivering real benefits for companies looking to locate their European in the British Midlands. .”
To find out more about how the British Midlands team can help your business please contact us