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4 October, 2018 - 21:33 By Tony Quested

Cambridge China Centre showcase aims to build historic trade bridge

Jinzhao Li

The recently launched Cambridge China Centre has unveiled an inaugural two-day forum in the city to accelerate UK-China business relationships.

The November 20-21 event – branded the Cambridge China Forum 2018 – is part of a broader initiative by the Centre designed to build long-term trust between two of the most innovative communities in the world.

Cambridge is renowned globally as the gateway to the UK technology industry and at the forefront of global education, research, scientific and technological innovation.

China is one of the oldest civilisations on the planet but has moved with the times to experience tremendous economic growth and is arguably the most powerful driving force behind the world’s economy and commercial activity. 

The two-day event offers a mix of learning, networking, debating, panel discussions, trade exhibition and job fair.

Cambridge China Forum is to to be an annual event which unites top executives from science and technology companies, investors, heads of leading universities from the UK and China, and senior officials from Chinese central and provincial governments. The event will include sessions exploring UK-China collaboration and experts discussing latest technology trends. 

Cambridge China Forum’s 2018 themes will be: “Cambridge – a remarkable example of university-industry cooperation” and “Cambridge Phenomenon and China opportunities.”

There will be a full-day forum, trade exhibition and gala dinner on Day 1 for UK-China delegates; while the second day will be specifically for the invited Chinese delegation and will include a PhD+ Recruitment Fair and bespoke seminars featuring key businesses across Cambridge.

With researchers and technical specialists working in Cambridge and China to develop new technologies, there are exciting opportunities for collaboration between Cambridge Cluster companies and research centres. 

Sessions within the forum will focus on exploring these opportunities and driving forward collaboration and business relationships.

Cambridge China CentreOne business sector envisaged to benefit from closer Cambridge and China links is AgriTech. The AgriTech sector contributes £14.3 billion to the UK economy and was highlighted as an “opportunity for the area to become an international leader in this sphere” in The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review Final Report, 2018. 

China’s 13th Five Year Plan (2016-2020) has set aside £3 billion for its national AgriTech programmes to help deliver better food security ( 

Another high-growth market is around Artificial Intelligence. The UK Government’s AI Sector Deal will establish a council to increase promotion of AI businesses globally and take steps to attract AI entrepreneurs to the UK.  

Within the deal, Cambridge is name checked as a significant AI cluster, whilst Professor Dame Wendy Hall has already started promoting the UK as an AI destination as part of a delegation to China, and was on a panel at the China Development Forum Summit talking about the UK’s Artificial IntelligenceI Strategy.

According to the World Economic Forum, China received two-thirds of global investment in AI, with industry growth of 67 per cent in the last year alone. 

Blockchain offers further collaborative opportunities.

Earlier this year, China’s President Xi Jinping called blockchain ‘breakthrough technology’ and in August, a 24-year-old Beijing entrepreneur, Xu Ke, made headlines when she launched China’s first blockchain-based social network, ONO. 

With blockchain disruptors such as, already scaling up from its base at St John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge, this is another key area of collaboration which the forum will explore. 

Designed as an intimate, bespoke event, with only 50 tickets available to purchase, delegates will benefit from impactful interactions and initiating long-term business relationships. 

Tickets are available at and there are also a few sponsorship opportunities available, giving companies an opportunity to have an elevated position at this inaugural event. 

The event is being held at The Guildhall in Cambridge. Early Bird Tickets (Until 15th October 2018) are priced from £240 +VAT.
To find out more email enquiry [at] or visit the website –

The UK government has set out the intention to be the best place to start and grow a business in the world. As of September 2017, over £350 million has been invested in 243 technology companies through the British Business Bank’s venture capital programmes” ( Policy Paper – AI Sector Strategy), with Cambridge at the heart of UK technology growth. 

China has faced challenges in the fields of hi-tech and international talent following decades of rapid economic growth. According to the World Economic Forum, China now accounts for one-third of global growth, with the Chinese government focusing on high-quality expansion.

Founded by Jinzhao Li alongside co-founders Sophie Yang, Jiajin Wang and Weimin Li, Cambridge China Centre facilitates and drives mutually prosperous UK-China business relationships. 

Managing director Jinzhao Li has two decades’ experience in international education, culture and tourism sectors, including a senior management role with the world’s largest education group – New Oriental Education & Tech Grp (NYSE: EDU). 

In 2012 she founded First UK Education and Tourism Ltd, which delivers regular high-level tours from China to Cambridge. She told Business Weekly about the priorities for Cambridge China Centre.

She said: “When we envisaged Cambridge China Centre we wanted to build on our expertise in the international education, culture and tourism sectors and extend this reputation to connect entrepreneurs, governments and business associates. 

“The vision was to give members opportunities to transfer knowledge, drive opportunities, build relationships as well as creating a powerful UK-China business network.  

“While supporting a broad spectrum of industries and sectors, we are now able to enable key opportunities in three areas: 1 – business, science and technology; 2 – retail, leisure and tourism; and 3 – education.

“Since our launch in June, Cambridge China Centre has produced a series of cultural events helping members to better understand Chinese culture and business practices. 

“We are now excited to be focusing on launching the business sector activities by announcing the Cambridge China Forum – the inaugural event driving forward UK-China Business relationships.”  

• China Centre offers members monthly culture events, quarterly networking events, an annual business forum, job postings, and cross-cultural business support. To become a member visit or for more details contact the team via enquiry [at]

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