Coun­cil look­ing east in pur­suit of in­creased in­vest­ment in city

Gloucestershire Echo - - BUSINESS - By ED STILLIARD

CIVIC chiefs in Glouces­ter have been woo­ing in­vestors from China in the hope of build­ing on the city’s re­cent re­gen­er­a­tion.

A del­e­ga­tion of se­nior of­fi­cials from Zhe­jiang prov­ince vis­ited Glouces­ter City Coun­cil who wanted to advertise the city as some­where to in­vest.

It comes after a trade visit by Prime Min­ster Theresa May to China ear­lier this year aimed at fos­ter­ing fur­ther links be­tween the two na­tions.

The six-strong Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion was led by Tan Xieliang, di­rec­tor of the Zhe­jiang Provin­cial Devel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion.

The visit was ar­ranged by the Glouces­ter­shire-based firm Join In China, which spe­cialises in build­ing trade links be­tween the UK, China and Hong Kong.

Coun­cil­lor Paul James, leader of Glouces­ter City Coun­cil, said: “Glouces­ter presents mas­sive in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for Chi­nese firms, be it within our flag­ship city cen­tre re­gen­er­a­tion schemes or along­side our di­verse busi­ness com­mu­nity. “The visit was a good op­por­tu­nity to build a work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Chi­nese gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials, which will hope­fully lead to in­creased eco­nomic en­gage­ment.”

The del­e­ga­tion met Natalie Wadley and Luke Wadley from Glouces­ter­based Change­mak­er3d, who are pi­o­neer­ing 3D de­sign in the field of mo­du­lar house build­ing. The Chi­nese del­e­gates learned about this in­no­va­tive dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy, and will ex­plore op­por­tu­ni­ties for Chi­nese busi­nesses to get in­volved with the firm. Zhe­jiang lies on China’s east coast ovelook­ing the East China Sea, south of the city of Shang­hai.

It has a pop­u­la­tion of more than 55,600,000 peo­ple and it’s largest ur­ban area Hangzhou is home to nearly nine mil­lion peo­ple.

One of the rich­est prov­inces in the Far Eastern na­tion, it gross do­mes­tic prod­uct is $767 bil­lion and makes up more than six per cent of the coun­try’s to­tal GDP.

Zhe­jiang’s main man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors are electro­mechan­i­cal in­dus­tries, tex­tiles, chem­i­cal in­dus­tries, food, and con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als.

In re­cent years Zhe­jiang has fol­lowed its own devel­op­ment model which is based on pri­or­i­tiz­ing and en­cour­ag­ing en­trepreneur­ship, an em­pha­sis on small busi­nesses re­spon­sive to the whims of the mar­ket, large pub­lic in­vest­ments into in­fra­struc­ture, and the pro­duc­tion of low-cost goods in bulk for both do­mes­tic con­sump­tion and ex­port.

As a re­sult, it has made it­self one of the rich­est prov­inces and the Zhe­jiang spirit has be­come well known in China.

Some econ­o­mists worry that this model is not sus­tain­able, in that it is in­ef­fi­cient and places un­rea­son­able de­mands on raw ma­te­ri­als and pub­lic util­i­ties, and also a dead end, in that the myr­iad small busi­nesses in Zhe­jiang pro­duc­ing cheap goods in bulk are un­able to move to more so­phis­ti­cated or tech­no­log­i­cally more ad­vanced in­dus­tries.

The del­e­ga­tion of se­nior of­fi­cials from China with David Evans and Daniel Gale from Glouces­ter City Coun­cil and Natalie and Luke Wadley from Change Maker 3D

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