More than 20 Sheffield businesses have met their counterparts from China and declared that they mean business in exploring links with the Far East.

A multi-sector trade delegation has visited Sheffield from China this week led by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Tianjin Sub-Council (CCPIT).

Its visit was to understand Sheffield as an investment environment and to hold a roundtable and one-to-one meeting with Sheffield businesses which are looking to enter the Chinese market.

The City Growth team at Sheffield City Council organised an afternoon of events for the delegation to understand more about Sheffield’s industries as well as the city as A PLACE TO INVEST

They heard how a business incubator at New Era Square, set to be completed in 2020, will further boost links between Sheffield and China.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, cabinet member for business and investment at SCC, said: “I’m delighted to see so many business people from across the city come together to explore better working relationships with China. We are already linked closely through our relationships with many Chinese cities and the thousands of students who choose to call Sheffield their home.

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“This visit ushers in an even greater understanding which will lead to new opportunities now and in the future.

“Having Chinese businesses coming into Sheffield gives our local businesses an opportunity to meet their Chinese counterparts face to face and have direct discussions on their products and market potentials in China. This will hopefully provide local businesses with tangible opportunities where they turn into orders.

Jerry Cheung, managing director of New Era Development said: “It is vital for the city to invite more inbound trade delegations to Sheffield so that they can have in-depth conversations with local businesses. Many of the Chinese businesses we met have expressed interest in the Chinese UK Business Incubator that will soon be completed.”

The leader of the trade mission Duan Yimin, vice chairman of CCPIT Tianjin said: “The companies in our delegation were delighted to be in Sheffield for the first time.

“We heard a lot about Sheffield as the Steel City and now we know a lot more about the wider strength of Sheffield’s industry. Tianjin is a major port city in north-eastern China and is a market with more than 15 million people.

“We welcome the opportunity to create trade links with businesses in the Sheffield and this visit should hopefully mark the beginning of the relationship. Businesses from Sheffield are also welcome to visit the Tianjin market and explore the opportunities we have got to offer.”

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Sheffield City Council is set to launch its Sheffield China Business Programme later this year with The Confucius Institute as programme partner.

Other quotes from attendees

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit Sheffield and its vibrant business community. Our group of companies operates in many areas in the consumer market and are constantly looking for collaboration partners and quality products who are interested in the Chinese market.”

Wen Hui, president of  Bohai Light Industry Investment Group, the 6th largest company in Tianjin.

“We have made some great contacts at the meeting which we will no doubt follow up. For us, working with China is a two-way opportunity. We work with UK companies targeting the Chinese market and we work with Chinese companies wanting to tap into the European markets.”

Neill Birchenall, director at Appt, a Sheffield based marketing and communication agency who recently set up its Chinese office in Kunming.