Swindon to be promoted in Beijing

February 10, 2011

Swindon is to be promoted as a prime business location at a high-profile conference in Beijing – opening the door for potentially-lucrative partnerships with Chinese companies.
Details of the conference in April are still being finalised but it could act as the first major project for the Link to China initiative launched in Swindon this morning at the town’s STEAM museum.

Dr Kegang Wu, executive director of the initiative, spoke to members of Swindon Chamber of Commerce about the huge opportunities in China and suggested that now was the time to take advantage of trade link-ups in the fast-growing economy.

He later contacted Swindon Council leader Rod Bluh saying he had been arranged for the town to be showcased at the conference in the Chinese capital.
Speaking at the Link to China launch, Dr Kegang said the Chinese economy was forecast to continue to grow at roughly the same rate it has achieved for the past 20 years – between eight and 10 per cent a year.

While there has been strong business links between the UK and China for many years, now was the time smaller businesses could be involved, he said, and the Chinese government is encouraging closer trade ties with the UK.

At present for every £9 in trade from China to the UK, just £1 goes in the opposite direction. The Chinese government is prepared to support UK businesses to tap into its market. “It’s probably the first time in history that a government has subsidised imports,” joked Dr Kegang.

At the same time, Chinese companies were seeking investment opportunities in the UK and were prepared to set up joint ventures and partnerships with UK firms.
Dr Kegang said there was a lack of knowledge in China about the UK and its economy – yet this was often where partnerships could be developed.

Standing in front of the Swindon-built GWR locomotive Caerphilly Castle at STEAM, he said: “The city of Qingdao is hoping to build a museum similar to this. Well, that could be done as a joint venture with this one.”
Link to China is being run by the Thames Valley Group of Chambers, of which Swindon Chamber is a member.

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