Ahead of the visit to the Chinese city of Hefei next week by a delegation of business and civic leaders from Derby to promote economic links, here’s an opportunity to learn about the similarities between our two cities.

  1. Central location and access – Derby is the UK’s most central city and Hefei is also situated in the central region of China, 400 kilometres east of Shanghai. It is the capital city of the Anhui province, China’s 8th largest province by population (60 million). Derby benefits from close proximity to the major motorway networks and a regular train service to London. International airports including East Midlands, Birmingham and Manchester, are also close by. Hefei also has strong transport links including an international airport. It is at the heart of China’s high speed rail network, enabling rapid access to major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.
  1. Iconic landscapes – In common with Derby’s location on the River Derwent, Hefei has a beautiful landscape carved by the Yangtze River Delta, which is the most dynamic economic zone in China. Derby city was recently voted the third most beautiful city and the county of Derbyshire also has some of the country’s most breath-taking countryside.
  1. Strong cultural histories – Derby city is around 2,000 years old and has a Roman fort in Chester Green. Hefei also has a long history of over 2,200 years since it was made a county seat in the Qin Dynasty. As the cultural capital of the Anhui province and it is anticipated that programmes can be developed for cultural exchange between the two cities in the future.
  1. Economic growth – Hefei is one of the fastest growing cities in China and among 26 of China’s provincial capital cities, Hefei ranks 12th in GDP gross and 3rd in growth rate. The Derby and Derbyshire area’s economic performance has been identified as the strongest in the UK and is rated as one of the best regions to invest.
  1. Strong educational links – Hefei is home to two universities and the University of Derby is keen to establish joint research collaborations and partnerships between Universities and to attract Chinese students to study in Derby. The cities reputation for academic excellence offers many opportunities to share knowledge and learning.
  1. Industrial innovation – As the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, and home to the world’s first factory built in 1721, Derby and Derbyshire has innovation in its DNA. Combine this with the high calibre of businesses including Derby’s cutting-edge manufacturing and engineering firms. Much like Derby, the Anhui Province is a centre for the rail, automotive and aerospace industry, as well as other types of manufacturing. Hefei is the biggest production base for household appliances in China including panel displays and TV/computer screens; renewal energy industries are developing fast.
  1. Ambitious people – Derby people are resilient, innovative and industrious, qualities shared by the people of Anhui. Despite the population difference, Hefei has 7.5 million people compared to just over 776,000 in Greater Derby, there are many opportunities for the partnership with Hefei to help us reinforce Derby’s position as a global city and UK capital for innovation.