Quarterly Consulate Briefing (April)

Published on 2012-04-25

British Consul-General Brian Davidson joins Chamber members to offer an update on recent and forthcoming Consulate activity in the Yangtze River Delta, including a number of senior UK visitors.

On 18 April, Brian Davidson, the British Consul-General Shanghai gave his quarterly update to British Chamber of Commerce members at the Sino-British College. Outlining the Consulate’s plans for the rest of the year, members learned about what is on the British Government’s agenda back home and here in the East China region.

• Regional Cities Agenda - investigating the long-term prospects outside the traditional growth cores of China. It is clear the UK needs to be more active in the fast developing periphery and the government should focus on researching the best opportunities for British Business.

• Hefei in Anhui province - highlighted as a key area targeted for development, offering potential opportunities for UK business. An MOU is in draft with the local government to underpin the further development of trade and investment links.

• GREAT Britain Campaign – following the successful launch in Shanghai last week the campaign aims to showcase Britain’s excellence across all sectors, change perceptions of the UK and raise awareness of UK strengths in the run-up to the Olympics. This is high on UK Ministers’ priority list.

• Asia Task Force initiative – CG Visited the UK in FEB during which time he met with almost 200 companies to highlight the opportunities for business in China. Around 30 of these are actively following up with UKTI/CBBC and appear committed to coming to China. This is a better conversion rate than in previous years, and the quality of knowledge of SMEs participating in the seminars had risen, suggesting awareness of Chinese market among SMEs is also rising. The next UK visit is set for May with a series of roundtables in London with medium-sized businesses.

• In recognition that the FCO should focus more of its resources on emerging markets, the consulate is expanding more staff both in UKTI and on the political/economic side. The expanded team will included permanent officers in Nanjing and Hefei. In terms of the summer relief visa staff, around 30 short-term staff are being recruited to deal directly with visa assistance this summer.

• Figures :
Around 16,000 Brits registered in China 7,600 of which in Shanghai region (5,600 Shanghai City). 3,500 living in Beijing. 16% growth of British residents in China year on year.

• Other notable visits:
June – Ambassador, Sebastian Wood, to Nanjing and Shanghai.
September – Lord Mayor of the City of London to Shanghai and Ningbo (tbc).
November – UK VIPs to coincide with BBA Gala Dinner.
TBC – Introductory event with new Consulate team once all positions are confirmed.