Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / World / China-Europe

Northern England vital hub for regional cooperation

By Zheng Wanyin | | Updated: 2023-12-01 07:14
Share - WeChat
Aerial view of Manchester city center [Alexey Fedorenko / IC Photo]

Encompassing major cities like Manchester, Leeds, and Sheffield, Northern England is not only one of the most dynamic regions in the United Kingdom but also a hub of considerable potential for China-UK cooperation in technology, business, and culture, said China's consul general to Manchester.

Tang Rui, who came to office in July, has made a series of visits to local officials, business leaders and academic communities in the region in the past months, and said he felt their strong willingness to expand China-UK cooperation.

"As local governments are pushing forward transformation plans of their economic mode, they look forward to collaboration with China in areas such as digital innovation, green technology, and advanced manufacture," said Tang. "They anticipate attracting Chinese high-tech enterprises to invest in the region and create high-paying jobs, attaining win-win cooperation."

Tang Rui, consul general of the People’s Republic of China in Manchester [Photo provided to]

Northern England, the cradle of the industrial revolution in the 18th century and a longtime driver of the country's growth, has seen its development stall in recent decades.

To reignite regional vitality, the UK government published the Northern Powerhouse strategy in 2016, announcing that over 5 billion pounds ($6.22 billion) would be invested to boost the North's transport infrastructure, upgrade the skills system across all ages, and continue promoting the region to foreign markets.

The UK government then announced its Levelling Up policy in 2019, promising an agenda to equalize all parts of the UK and reduce regional inequalities, with a total of 3.8 billion pounds being awarded since 2021.

According to the UK Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities, Northern England has secured almost 30 percent of the funding, benefiting projects focused on transport, housing infrastructure, and energy transition.

With further implementation of the Northern Powerhouse strategy and Levelling Up plan, the full economic potential of the North can be unleashed, making the area a destination that Chinese companies cannot overlook for starting or expanding businesses, Tang said.

[Chen Tianshu / China Daily]

The 2023 Report on the Development of Chinese Enterprises in the UK found that the number of Chinese companies choosing the North East and North West as their operational hubs has grown by 9 percent and 10 percent to reach 31 percent and 30 percent respectively.

"The region has many world-class universities and research institutes strong in clean energy, bio-medicine and advanced materials, and the region has lower management and labor costs compared with the Greater London area," said Tang, noting that a large number of Chinese companies, including big names such as Midea, Hisense, and Haier, have established a presence in the area.

The UK arm of Beijing Construction Engineering Group International, or BCEGI, based in Manchester, has been an equity and construction partner at the Airport City project at Manchester Airport since 2013. Recently, BCEGI completed the construction of a pedestrian and cycle bridge, along with two hotels, at the airport.

Chinese automotive supplier Minth Group established its UK branch in Sunderland in 2018. It anticipates bringing more high-tech solutions from China to the UK to help decrease carbon emissions in the auto industry.

"Those companies have maintained a strong momentum in the market, contributing to the growth of the local economy, and pushing forward the China-UK collaboration," Tang said, adding that he hoped for more fruitful results through cooperation in areas such as the Net Zero transition, electric vehicles, and e-commerce, given the distinct advantages Chinese companies have in these fields.

"I am confident that more breakthroughs will happen here as the Consulate General continues to promote China-UK economic exchanges on the regional level," he said.

"We will work with the local governments and business chambers to host business forums with the support of the sister cities of Wuhan-Manchester, Shanghai-Liverpool, Hangzhou-Leeds, and Chengdu-Sheffield."

Most Viewed in 24 Hours
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349