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Guangzhou makes London business pitch

By Wang Mingjie | China Daily UK | Updated: 2017-06-16 16:36

The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou hosted a road show in London to promote the 2017 Fortune Global Forum, and attract some of the world's largest enterprises to the high-profile business event that will be held in Guangzhou in early December.

The London meeting marked the 11th stop of Guangzhou's international road show for the 2017 forum. More than 150 people, including representatives from governments, enterprises and trade associations in Guangzhou and the UK, attended the event, promoting further cooperation between the two sides.

In recent years, the Chinese city has seen steady growth in attracting foreign investment and cooperation between the UK and Guangzhou. The UK is now an important trading partner and investment source for Guangzhou, with trade volume exceeding 16.38 billion yuan ($2.4 billion) last year.

Speaking to UK officials and business leaders at London's Berkeley Hotel, Cai Chaolin, Guangzhou's vice-mayor, introduced the city's initiatives of developing a technology innovation hub, which is expected to bring new business opportunities for UK companies.

Noting London's special status as a global financial center as well as an important international shipping center, Cai said, "The integration of finance and shipping can generate a powerful incentive, which is something we need to learn."

He said there is no shortage of large ports in China, as it hosts six or seven of the world's largest ports.

However, Cai said, "China is missing a high level of shipping, transaction, legal and financial services to make those ports leading international shipping centers".

A roundtable discussion titled "The UK-China Opportunity: Innovation, Investment and Impact" was held as a part of the event.

One of the panelists, Noel Quinn, chief executive of global commercial banking at HSBC, said, "The UK businesses have continued to perform extremely strongly, and in the second half of last year exceeded all expectations with respect to trading performance, and business profitability, which shows great resilience."

But the UK business community is not reaching out to the rest of the world as much as some of its European competitors are, said Quinn, who sees China as a huge opportunity for that, especially in the post-Brexit era.

Quinn said that UK corporate banks dealing in the fields of infrastructure, space, engineering, construction and architecture are doing extremely well in entering China, providing services and partnering with Chinese businesses.

George Yip, professor of marketing and strategy at Imperial College London, who is also on the panel, said "China is at the take-off point at moving from imitation to innovation, through a very Chinese kind of way with large number of scientists and low costs, in a rapid speed."

Yip said for Chinese goods to become popular worldwide, Chinese government needs to actively promote high-quality Chinese brands, making made-in-China a plus instead of a negativity.

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