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14 December, 2010 - 00:34 By Staff Reporter

‘East meets East’ in bid to accelerate trade partnerships

Michael Och, Director of Production (Lotus) and Chinese Minister Counsellor

Chinese Minister Counsellor ZHOU Xiaoming has been in the East of England looking at inward investment opportunities in Cambridge, Essex and Norfolk.

The visit forms part of UKTI’s recently launched 'East meets East' initiative, which is encouraging local companies to look at business opportunities in Asia, where the market is growing rapidly.In Cambridge, the Minister Counsellor was seeking inward investment opportunities within two of the city’s key sectors - ICT and Life Sciences.He started his day at Health Enterprise East, the NHS Innovation Hub for the East of England based at Papworth Hospital where he was able to find out about new product development and global licensing opportunities. His schedule also included visits to Cambridge Consultants and Innova Bioscience. Innova’s core business is bioconjugation – the joining of two molecules, one of which is usually an antibody, to form a hybrid molecule or ‘conjugate’. During 2010, Innova Biosciences Ltd has been able to appoint two distributors in China. The Minister counsellor also met Tim Mitchell, CEO of Sareum Ltd, a specialist cancer drug discovery business, who outlined his company’s determination to build bridges with Chinese partners.Zhou Xiaoming finished the Cambridge leg of his tour at TWI, the Cambridge based centre of expertise on welding and joining of materials. TWI has many clients in China and TWI's friction stir welding is now used in the Chinese space programme and is seen as integral to China's developing aerospace and automotive sectors.ZHOU Xiaoming, said: “The visit was extremely productive and I have been very impressed with the innovation, skills and entrepreneurship I have seen in Cambridge. “I am particularly pleased to hear about the strong links, which all the companies I have visited currently enjoy with China. This visit really confirms what an exciting place Cambridge is to do business with right now.”In Norfolk, Zhou Xiaoming, visited Lotus in Norwich, to look at future opportunities with the global automotive engineering company and find out more about its ever growing global alliance with China.He met with Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus Plc and UKTI International Trade Director for the East of England, Vic Annells, to learn more about the company’s links with China.Bahar said: “Lotus Engineering has an office in Shanghai with established partnerships and strong links with Chinese businesses and we are committed to significant investment in the region.“The visit gave us the opportunity to show the Minister Counsellor our plans for growth; with an overview of the business, a tour of our production facilities and design studio and a glimpse of some of our latest engineering projects. China is a key territory for Lotus and we welcomed this opportunity to inform the Minister Counsellor about our business.” The Minister Counsellor also visited the University of Essex in Colchester, to look at research opportunities at the university and find out more about its ever growing global alliance with China.Professor Martin Henson, University of Essex Dean of International Development, said: “The University of Essex has a long tradition of international engagement. “As well as a strong staff and student community from China, the University has established partnerships and links with Chinese institutions and welcomed this opportunity to inform the Minister Counsellor about them.” Vic Annells, International Trade Director for UKTI, said: “Without question our relationship with China is vitally important - whether selling, trading, investing or franchising, China offers opportunities in abundance to UK companies, large or small. “This year China also entered the top 10 countries with which businesses in this region trades. Here in the East of England there is also great potential for Chinese companies, particularly within the ICT and Life Sciences sectors.  “The rapidly expanding economies in China and Asia as a whole are providing a demand for local companies to grow and look at new export opportunities. With this in mind UKTI in the East of England has launched a new campaign ‘East meets East,’ to encourage businesses in the region to consider this rapidly growing market.”• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Michael Och, Director of Production (Lotus) and Chinese Minister Counsellor

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