Roads to China - Strategies for Building Effective relationships Between the West Midlands and China
Birmingham, June 2019
Aston Business School
Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, Liam Byrne MP and Beverley Nielsen (Director of Institute for Design and Economic Acceleration, Birmingham City University) were keynote speakers at an event on 25 June 2019 to encourage more businesses in Birmingham and the West Midlands to trade with China. Challenges were put to them in a “Question Time” type session, including around the deep reasons for other countries’ (such as Germany) successes, visas, language training and local concerns around JLR.
The event at Aston Business School was organised by the Birmingham China Business Forum. Zo Hoida, President, opened the Conference by saying that some urgency needs to be brought to the debate over how the region trades with China. Whilst the West Midlands has a trade surplus with China this is heavily dependent upon automotive sales and the event helped open the eyes of businesses in other sectors to the potential of the multi-billion-pound Chinese market.
Throughout the event a theme developed of how important culture and openness are to make the best of the opportunities. During the breakout sessions, local business people, academics and students came together and discussed the current situation, learning and action points that need to be followed up to achieve the delivery of a Strategy for China for the West Midlands. The event closed to a buzzing atmosphere of networking over refreshments sponsored by Birmingham Airport.
“The Roads to China conference proved the value of people from across different sectors meeting to share knowledge and experiences in working in China. Together we are stronger, and there is so much more we can do collaboratively as a City and as the West Midlands in China” said Saskia Loer Hansen, Pro-Vice-Chancellor International, Aston University.
“We need to improve our understanding of potential markets, not just in China but also Belt and Road countries. We also need to build for the long term by strengthening cross-cultural and civic relationships, mutual understanding and trust between ourselves and China.”
Yeow Poon Chair of Chinese Community Centre-Birmingham and President of England China Business Forum.
“I am delighted that Andy Street and other politicians, academics and business institutions have given the Forum their support to enable us to put this Conference together which is the first step to a more detailed and focused China strategy for the West Midlands,” said Zo Hoida, President of the Birmingham China Business Forum and a partner at the Birmingham office of law firm Browne Jacobson.
“The conference is a really good start, however, we need to make more efforts from both the public and private sectors to further strengthen trade and investment relationships between the West Midlands and China.” Angela Huang, Vice President of Birmingham China Business Forum and Chair of Chinese Future.
You Can Do It - Business, Trade and Investment between UK and China
Birmingham, May 2019
Whilst the West Midlands is the only region in the UK to have a positive trade balance with China, we cannot afford to be complacent. Global changes are affecting China’s economy, which will impact on us. Also, as we face uncertainties over our trading relationship with Europe, we need to expand our trade with other countries, especially China.
John Rider, former regional chair of the Institute of Directors, shared his experience of setting up a business in China. He stressed the importance of having patience, having a helpful attitude and building up long term business relationships.
Eric Wu, Director of Strategic Market and Delivery at WSP, discussed his experience of working in the UK and touch on how WSP can be a part of China's Belt and Road Initiative
The seminar was opened by Zo Hoida, the President of Birmingham China Business Forum (BCBF) and the panel discussion was moderated by Bill Good, Director of England China Business Forum (ECBF).
Transcending Borders - Immigration and Investment into the UK
London, April 2019
The debate on immigration and its impacts on the economy, local resources and community cohesion has been heightened since the Brexit referendum in 2016. Over the last 2 years EU migrants have dropped significantly but those from non-EU countries have risen considerably. UK immigration policies have been changing and will likely continue to change.
Our Panellists, who are experts in immigration, trade and investment, shared their insights on recent changes in immigration regulations, as well as highlight where immigration enhances our economy and society.
Brian Farrugia, Director of Prime Advantage Capital Partners, has over 40 years of experience in supporting multi-nationals, SMEs and start-ups with investment strategies. Brian provided insights on trade and investment opportunities from and into China.
Antonia Torr, Head of Immigration Services in Howard Kennedy, with vast experience of UK immigration laws, has assisted many clients in obtaining their investor, entrepreneur or sole representative visa. Antonia gave a very useful update on current UK regulations on immigration and share lessons from some case examples.
Dr Yeow Poon, President of England China Business Forum, has supported public service reforms and civil society development in the UK and internationally for many years, and was awarded TheBusinessDesk Midlands Public and Third Sector Leader in 2018. He discussed the impact of migration and how a more open society can work together for mutual prosperity.
Britsh Companies Celebrate Chinese New Year
In association with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce at OPUS Restaurant
Birmingham’s trade relationship with China began in 1866, when an Imperial Commission visited Birmingham as part of a tour of Europe to learn about Western technology and production. The first major contract was with the Birmingham Mint for 90 coining presses. Further high profile visits took place in 1899 and 1906, followed by large orders for railway carriages. Since then trade between Birmingham (and the wider region) with China has grown and the West Midlands account for a quarter of the UK’s goods exported to China. Whilst the West Midlands is the only region in the UK to have a positive trade balance with China, we cannot afford to be complacent. Global changes are affecting China’s economy, which will impact on us.
This New Year dinner also marked the start of a new relationship of mutual partnership and support between Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and Birmingham China Business Forum; taking forward the collaboration of businesses from diverse backgrounds trading with China to a new level. Over a fine dining experience with a Chinese twist, a panel of speakers shared their insights on how Birmingham and the West Midlands can continue to deepen and grow our trading relationships with China.
Paul Faulkner (CEO of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce), Ian Ward (Leader of Birmingham City Council), Steve Brittan (Business Advisor BSA Tools Ltd and Chamber Council member), Beverley Nielsen (Director of IDEA, Birmingham City University), Councillor Alex Yip (Shadow Cabinet Member of Birmingham City Council), Qasim Majid (President of the Asian Business Chamber of Commerce), Dr Yeow Poon (President of England China Business Forum and Chair of Chinese Community Centre - Birmingham), Zo Hoida (President of Birmingham China Business Forum) and others.
Drinks were sponsored by Browne Jacobson.
HAPPY NEW YEAR January 2019
Chinese Community Centre - Birmingham
We began 2019 with our Annual Dinner on 29th January to celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Pig. Besides sharing our planned events for 2019 in Birmingham and London, the impact of the 'trade war' between the United States and China was discussed.
Dr Yeow Poon, who has been championing better cross-cultural connections between the West Midlands and China to provide a stronger bedrock for long term trade ties, shared his insights on the changing Chinese economy and how that in turn affects the global economy and ourselves in the UK. Yeow is the President of England China Business Forum (ECBF), the Chair of the Chinese Community Centre - Birmingham and a member of the Steering Group for China West Midlands 2020.
Zo Hoida was welcomed as the new President of Birmingham China Business Forum and she gave an update of planned activities in Birmingham for 2019. Bill Good the co-Chair of ECBF London Group did the same for London, as well as the exciting progress that China West Midlands 2020 has made.