DELEGATES representing organisations from the UK’s South West recently attended an expo event in China to help promote potential partnerships between the two countries and their regions (November 2020).

Among those represented was Somerset-based Aspen Waite China UK (AWCUK), which provides an international business growth service for innovators in med-tech and life sciences, IT, low carbon and manufacturing.

Darren Horne, CEO of AWCUK in Bridgwater, explains: “Through our strategic partnership with the South West Business Council (SWBC), the economic body representing the South West of the UK, we were represented at the 2020 Chongqing International Cultural and Tourism Industry Expo.

“We support the export of UK innovation and provide those within the med-tech and life sciences, IT, low carbon and manufacturing sectors with an opportunity to work with Chinese counterparts.

“Through our links and expertise, we offer companies with innovative products the chance to expand into the Chinese market, or partner with Chinese colleagues, for the development and commercialisation of UK Innovation. We also support them throughout the process, so that the relationships achieve their potential.

“It was a great honour that our team was made special guests of the Chongqing Municipal Government. Chongqing has a huge cultural and historic significance in China as a renowned trade city of the ancient Silk Road, which is now being redeveloped in the 21st century as the capital of South West of China and the focus of the President Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative.

“Chongqing is a highly influential megacity and is home to more than 31 million people. Administratively, it is one of the four municipalities under the direct administration of the central government of China and, therefore, organisations based there hold wonderful potential as partners for businesses in the South West of the UK. We can help them do this with our expertise and understanding of the business Culture”

The Expo featured thousands of exhibitors from 22 countries and 20 Chinese provinces with more than 100,000 attendees passing through the gates.

“There was significant interest from the business community there in learning what our representatives and the SWBC has to offer.”

Throughout the Expo, the team were kept busy with enquiries from the low carbon, tourism, leisure, education, innovation, technology, financial, manufacturing and med-tech and pharmaceutical sectors.

Chairman of the South-West China Alliance (SWCA), the partner of the SWBC representing eight provinces, Hu Bin, said in his opening remarks: “The South West of China is very much open for business and welcomes all overseas interests to China’s fastest developing economic region.”

China’s economic development strategy partly relies on manufacturing partnerships with UK innovators to meet its own growth and export targets. Chinese companies are prepared to invest into key sectors to achieve these export targets.

Dr Robin Daniels, CEO at SWBC said: “Our work with AWCUK and UK innovators exposes them to more than 140 incubation bases, science and technology parks throughout China. Our Chinese partners hold capability to incubate and expose UK innovation to global opportunities by way of manufacturing partnerships and investments.

“We’re able to help innovators who may previously have thought about the potential of the Chinese market but who have been unsure how to move things forward.

“The potential impacts to come from Brexit and COVID-19, China is a key trading partner for anyone in business in the UK.

“We offer innovators, manufacturers and investors from both China and the UK the chance to meet with a better understanding of each other’s cultures. We are bringing the two countries closer together than ever before, as natural trading partners, and as global citizens.”

AWCUK has very close links with China, with offices in Beijing and Shanghai, as well as in most regions of the UK, including its head offices in Bridgwater, Somerset.

It has a history of developing new sectors of cooperation, strategic partnerships for public and private sector, and overcoming difficulties created by differences in regulations, as well as social and business cultural differences.

Darren adds: “If you’re an innovator, we can help you take that next step, come and have a chat with us.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about AWCUK, should visit https://chinauk.co/. If you are an innovator wishing to find out more about opportunities in China, please register your interest and find out more here www.chinauk.co/register.