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Leeds City Region takes its most senior delegation to China

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28 Feb 2017

The UK’s largest City Region outside of London and the South East is taking a trade delegation to China, in order to further accelerate its investment relationships with the second largest economy in the world.

Cllr Judith Blake and Roger Marsh OBE are visiting Hangzhou and Shanghai, with the aims of further reinforcing the region’s proactive approach to China and strengthening government to government relations. Accompanying them are representatives from the University of Leeds, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds College of Art, Scarborough Group and Munroe K.

The visit will see senior figures from the City Region meet with senior government and business leaders; including a further meeting with Chinese e-commerce platform, Kaola.com, which launched a search in late 2016, to find exporters based in the Leeds City Region that want to break into the growing Far East market. The meeting will explore and agree further opportunities for Leeds City Region businesses to export to China and capitalise on the demand for British products by the growing Chinese middle class.

Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council, commented:

“Leeds has a long and prestigious relationship with China. We have been twinned with Hangzhou since 1989 and hosted the Chinese Olympic team during the London 2012 Games. Through trade and investment missions such as this, we are able to further cultivate this relationship and profile the City and wider City Region. In particular we can highlight our sector strengths such as in Big Data, Healthcare and Technology. In fact the region is home to a number of leading Chinese businesses already including HiSense’s UK headquarters and Silver Cross owner Fosun, which were attracted by our industry leading innovation, heritage British brands and knowledge led economy; but we want more to invest in our region and more of our companies to find a market in China and employ more people in Leeds and wider region.”

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, added:

“The time is right for the City Region to be furthering its relations with Hangzhou, as the city currently has a higher profile internationally since it hosted the G20 conference last year. I’m delighted that together with Cllr Blake, the City Region is leading this senior delegation of public and private sector partners to highlight our commitment to developing trade and investment opportunities and government to government relationships, which will benefit our economy in the future.

“Leeds City Region has a great deal to offer and the level of interest from China is high, as such we must take advantage and build on the work we have done to develop relations with China.”

Professor Yu, Vice-Chancellor: International, University of Leeds added:

“We are determined to support Leeds as being an innovative, strong and successful investment alternative to London and as such are delighted to be part of this delegation.”

“During the week we will be promoting the University’s ambitious plans to increase our global reach and impact, encouraging colleagues in China to collaborate in joint research and student education and teaching opportunities. Leeds is a truly global city and we offer access to some of the best and brightest minds in the world.

David Aspin, CEO and Founder Munroe K, who is attending as part of the delegation concluded:

“Trade and investment missions such as this are crucial to further bolstering our region’s reputation as a leading destination for investment. Hangzhou’s high proportion of privately owned businesses, which includes some of the largest tech firms in the world, offers some fantastic similarities with our own business ecosystem and potential opportunities for the future.”