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Gloucestershire looks to China for business opportunities

8 June 2021
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Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership, GFirst, is looking to open doors of opportunity for the county's businesses with Henan Province in China, following a virtual trade event with the province.

The event was co-hosted by GFirst LEP and the Foreign Affairs Office of the Henan Provincial Government in China and was also supported by the Department of Industry & Trade British Consulate-General Wuhan and the Henan the Provincial Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

After a trip to the province in September 2019 where David Owen, CEO of GFirst LEP, the mission was to promote Gloucestershire and establish potential trade connections, it was agreed there was ample opportunity to form bilateral links between the two regions. Both parties were incredibly keen to capitalise on this hence the idea for the event was initiated and realised on 26th May.

The event featured five industry champions from both regions, leading enterprises that were born and thriving in their respective regions and were open to exploring links on either side. Gloucestershire was represented by motion control pioneers Renishaw; graphene experts Versarien, specialist education Hartpury College & University; global food technology & research centre Campden BRI and green energy provider Ecotricity.

All five companies showcased their business and were open to explore opportunities. The Henan based companies featured YTO Group - agricultural machinery specialists; Zhengzhou International – logistics and block train engineers; China Huaneng Group – low energy enterprise provider; Henan University of Animal Husbandry and Economy and Luohe Vocational College of Food.

Martin Walley, Deputy Consul General of British Consulate General Wuhan, said: “This event is the culmination of many hours of hard work on both sides to bring about a useful, and I hope, fruitful exchange of information, both in Zhengzhou and Gloucester, to make useful contacts with suitable partners for future collaboration.”

David Owen, CEO for GFirst LEP said:“This event really showcased what Gloucestershire businesses have to offer on an international scale and sends a clear message that we are very much open and ready to do business. I look forward to seeing the outcomes from this cooperation.”

Henan province is situated in the northeastern part of China and has the largest population of any province, around 106 million.

The capital of the province is Zhengzhou, which is considered one of the Eight Great Ancient Capitals of China. Roughly four million people inhabit the capital.

Coal mining and energy production are two of the biggest industries in the capital. Textile operations and the manufacturing of tractors, locomotives and fertilizers also make up a large percentage of industry in this city. Zhengzhou boasts of one of the oldest Confucian Temples in China, being roughly 1900 years old.

Nicky Godding is editor of The Business Magazine. Before her journalism career, she worked mainly in public relations moving into writing when she was invited to launch Retail Watch, a publication covering retail and real estate across Europe.

After some years of constant travelling, she tucked away her passport and concentrated on business writing, co-founding a successful regional business magazine. She has interviewed some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs who have built multi-million-pound businesses and reported on many science and technology firsts.

She reports on the region’s thriving business economy from start-ups, family businesses and multi-million-pound corporations, to the professionals that support their growth and the institutions that educate the next generation of business leaders.

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