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Prince William focuses on football and film on China trip

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-03-03 17:04

Prince William focuses on football and film on China trip

Britain's Prince William kicks a ball during a visit to a Premier League training camp at Nanyang Secondary School in Shanghai March 3, 2015. [Photo by Gao Erqiang for]

SHANGHAI - Britain's Prince William focused his China trip on promoting links between the countries in football and film Tuesday, watching students kick balls around with Premier League-trained coaches ahead of a movie premiere.

The second-in-line to the throne is on a three-day trip to China on behalf of the UK government to open a festival celebrating British creativity and innovation, the first major event in a year of cultural exchange between the countries.

As well as pushing Britain's creative industries, he is aiming to forge business relationships between Britain and China.

After arriving in Shanghai Monday evening, he opened the GREAT festival, which showcases entertainment, design, health care and fashion, and met with Chinese business leaders, including Jack Ma, an English teacher-turned-founder of e-commerce giant Alibaba.

On Tuesday, he toured the exhibits, which involve British companies such as British Airways and Jaguar Land Rover.

Then he watched secondary school students take part in a football session with coaches trained by the Premier League as part of a British program, and to mark the addition of football to the Chinese school curriculum.

On Monday in Beijing, William met President Xi Jinping, and had an animated conversation about the sport, according to a report by China's official Xinhua News Agency.

Xi told the prince that China was willing to learn from talented football nations, including England. China has qualified for only one World Cup, in 2002, and its poor performance in international football competitions is blamed on a history of corruption, overly bureaucratic government supervision and a weak youth training system that has seen the numbers of registered youngsters playing the game fall year by year.

On Tuesday evening, the prince was set to meet Chinese film industry figures and attend the China premiere of "Paddington," a British-French film based on a book about the fictional bear who is found at a London train station, at the Shanghai Film Museum.

On Wednesday, William's China trip winds up in Xishuangbanna in Yunnan province near the Myanmar border, where he will visit an elephant sanctuary.

William arrived in Beijing late Sunday after a four-day stay in Japan.

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