Council looking east in pursuit of increased investment in city
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