Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce has participated in one of the first network-wide overseas trade missions to China, led by a delegation of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.
President, Colin Loveday and Chief Executive, Alison Henderson joined senior representatives and business people from Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and West Lothian. The mission explored new trading opportunities and links with business, education and government organisations.
As part of the programme, Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) announced the official opening of a new International Trade Office in the city of Yantai. The formal opening ceremony was hosted by the Vice Mayor of Yantai city, Madame Zhang Bo, together with senior officials from Yantai Municipal Government.
As part of the event, both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding for trade engagement and partnership, designed to achieve an effective channel for exchange of business between Scotland and Yantai.
During the trade visit, Dundee & Angus Chamber participated in a series of productive meetings with senior business people, highly influential politicians including Vice Governor Wang Shujian, and local government officials as well as national “think tank” bodies in Beijing and Yantai and Jinan in the Shandong Province.
President, Colin Loveday commented: “The Chinese economy continues to grow at a faster pace than western economies and the rate of growth within new cities such as Yantai and Jinan opens up the potential for Dundee & Angus businesses to promote and sell goods and services which Chinese businesses and consumers want and need. That demand, together with a more recent policy of ‘opening up’ to new trading partners and overseas alliances by the Chinese, presents a myriad of opportunities for our local businesses to capitalise on.
“The aim of our mission was to strengthen relationships and increase engagement with existing and new contacts in sectors where there are direct B2B or knowledge-sharing opportunities for Scottish companies. Yantai is a city of 7 million and SCC’s base in Yantai will enable us to plan a comprehensive approach to exploiting the many opportunities in Yantai and further afield for our members and non-members.”
Shandong Province represents the third largest economy in China with a population of over 97 million and a GDP in excess of 6.3 trillion yuan (£0.7 trillion). It is China’s best wine growing region, accounting for over 25 per cent of all wine production. Yantai is the biggest trading port in North China and in 2016, the city imported over $19 billion (£14.7 billion) of goods and services.
The delegation also visited the city of Jinan, which is home to one of the first national high-tech business incubators and since its foundation in 2002, it has incubated more than 1,000 small and medium sized science and technology enterprises. It focuses on cultivating fast-growing sectors such as biomedicine, ecommerce, energy, environmental protection and new materials.
Key sectors for Dundee & Angus based companies to meet key economic needs in the Chinese target cities include: electronic information, robotics and artificial intelligence, pharmaceutical, bioscience, R&D, manufacturing, engineering and smart technologies, energy, logistics, agriculture, food and drink, design & innovation and even football management.
The accelerated growth of consumers in Shandong province also opens opportunities in consumer goods, recreation, culture and tourism services, financial and professional services and education.
Chief Executive, SCC, Liz Cameron said: “We now have a deeper understanding of how we can achieve the best exchange for business, where the opportunities exist for Scottish organisations and how we can best pursue these.
“We have also identified a number of potential opportunities for inward investment into Scotland and will be working with Scottish Government and SDI as well as other trade organisations to explore these and leverage the momentum of change within China.
Chief Executive, Alison Henderson, added: “We will now undertake a deep dive of companies based in Dundee & Angus who have products, skills and expertise which have the potential to be exported to Shandong Province. Our aim is to add impetus to our local and wider Scottish economy by assisting companies who have not previously thought about exporting to grasp the potential that international trade offers.
“The new more open trading environment in fast growing cities such as Yantai, Jinan and the wider Shandong Province, together with the practical advice and direct B2B links that Dundee & Angus Chamber now has within this market, will facilitate more effective trading partnership opportunities for our local businesses and educational institutions.”
“During our trip, we visited Penglai Pavilion, which is twinned with Glamis Castle, and enjoys two million visitors per year. There were several displays promoting Glamis and Angus, and it was good to see Angus being promoted to Chinese tourists. This will help attract affluent Chinese visitors to Angus, and to the V&A Museum in Dundee too.”
“Dave Valentine MBE, Director, DACC, was also a part of the delegation and utilised his years of experience of doing business in China to organise the mission in his capacity as International Ambassador (China) for Scottish Chambers of Commerce, displaying the great entrepreneurial talent of Dundee & Angus.”
SCC intends to return to Shandong Province later this year to conclude discussions on further Memorandums of Understanding and explore new ways to foster co-operation between the two countries.