[Review] British Chamber Shanghai Annual General Meeting 2020

Published on 2020-05-20

On Thursday, 14 May 2020, the British Chamber Shanghai held its 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) online via ZOOM.

Chamber Chair, Treasurer, Executive Director and the Community Outreach Committee Chair reviewed the work of the Chamber in 2019 and plans for 2020. British Consul-General in Shanghai joined and gave an update on the UK government and the important role the Chamber plays. At the end of the AGM, the Executive Committee for 2020-2021 was announced. 

2019: A Year of Transition

2019 is a year of transition for the Chamber with the executive committee welcoming several new members, and James Dunn taking on his new role as Head of the Chamber (now Executive Director).

2019 has also seen changes and the embedding results of new ideas, as well as enhanced collaboration across China. The key priority of the Chamber remains focusing on our members, understanding their needs, further engaging with the committees that represent the various members' interests and bringing more exciting and higher quality events to the membership. 

Extending beyond Shanghai, the Chamber has worked more closely with other British organisations in China, particularly with the chamber in Beijing. Given Brexit, the British chambers are conscious that we play a key role as the main voice for British businesses in China. Working together and speaking as a single voice is the best way to represent British companies at this time of transition. With aligned interests and strategy, the chambers have been developing relationships, working together on the Position Papers, joint webinars, and more.

The Chamber's Community Outreach Committee was reinvented in 2019 from fund-raising to an integrated platform, recommending reliable organisations and volunteer opportunities to members, as well as promoting members CSR activities. 

Moving forward in 2020

COVID-19 presents a unprecedented challenge; however, thanks to the strong foundations we have laid over the past year, the Chamber is in a strong position to help our members. Now, more than ever, the Chamber is bringing the British community together and providing support. 

We've introduced 'Event Bank' platform to make it easier for members to view and register for Chamber events. We've launched the SME Helpdesk to support small businesses during this challenging time and are looking to develop this service for the remainder of the year. 

In 2020, we will continue working on advocacy with BritCham in Beijing. The new Position Paper will be launched on 9 June. To prepare for the 2021 edition, we will run more round tables towards the end of this year. We encourage our members to participate and have your voice and the voice for the British businesses be heard. 

After four years, the British Business Awards is coming back to Shanghai and will launch soon on 11 June. The winners will be awarded on 29 October. It is an excellent opportunity for British businesses to come together at this time and learn from each other. We encourage all companies to seize the opportunity to showcase their success stories. 

British Consul-General in Shanghai: The Chamber places an important role

We are glad to have the British Consul-General in Shanghai, Chris Wood, joined the AGM and shared his view on the Chamber's work.

The Consul-General thanked the Chamber, its members and the executive committee for the work had been done in the past year. Particularly the Position Paper and the sentiment surveys that have been undertaken by the British chambers across China, which were extremely valuable as it gathers and represents the views of British businesses. Through the chambers, British businesses have an independent voice in China, to reflect both to the British government and the Chinese government. 

Talking about the future, Chris mentioned that we've been in a difficult and challenging time for both businesses and individuals. As we come through COVID-19, the world will not be the same. We will have new ways of working and see more different styles of delivery and maybe adapt to virtual trade missions or bilateral government online meetings. Although the coronavirus limited face-to-face meetings, the contacts between China and the UK at all levels continue, and the relations remain good. 

In terms of UK-China trade, 2019 saw a record bilateral trade, which was up 17.6% to over 100 billion pounds between China and the UK. UK exports to China were up 34%. This year, the British government has contracted to spend over 350 million pounds so far in purchasing PPE, ventilators and other medical equipment from China. 

Chris concluded his speech: 

"Challenges always bring opportunities. I look forward to working in the new model; the British Business Awards in October; and the 3rd CIIE (China International Import Expo) in November. I also very much look forward to working with the British Chamber Shanghai as we continue to promote the best of British in all sectors.“

2020-2021 Executive Committee (ExCo)

At the end of the AGM, Returning Officer James McGuire (Assistant Director, East China Life Sciences, Health and Social Care, DIT), announced the Executive Committee for 2020-2021:

Chair

  • Rosie Hawes, Partner, Control Risks

Vice-Chairs

  • Alan Hepburn, Managing Partner, Asia, Advisory Board Architects
  • Tong Sun, Managing Director, Corporate Solutions Development, China, JLL

Treasurer

  • John Chattock, Partner, Audit, KPMG China

At-Large Members

  • Ray Chisnall, Asia Pacific Regional Director & Country Manager (China), Gleeds
  • James Gathercole, Partner, Odgers Berndtson
  • Kirsten Johnston, CEO, JWDK
  • Blair Kelly, Individual Member
  • Linian Li, Country Manager, Modern Water
  • David Markham, Vice President Operations, East China, IHG
  • Alex Roberts, Counsel, Linklaters LLP

Ex-Officio Members

  • Chris Wood, British Consul-General, British Consulate-General Shanghai
  • TBC, The British Council
  • James Dunn, Executive Director, The British Chamber of Commerce Shanghai

The Chamber welcomes new members of the ExCo and also would like to thank our outgoing ExCo members - Landa Guo and Rebecca Soquier. We sincerely thank them for their contributions and hard work for the Chamber during the past years. ​ Please click here for more details about our Executive Committee.