Local government and business leaders from a hi-tech Xinbei District in Changzhou City paid a courtesy call on Derby City Council, today, expressing the desire to develop a closer working relationship.

Leader of the delegation, Vice Director of People’s Congress of Changzhou Xinbei District Madame Hu Xiufang said both Xinbei and Derby were hi-tech cities and there were synergies and opportunities to be explored.

She said she would like an agreement between both cities.

Derby is the only city on our UK visit and the only one that we wish to collaborate with because we have so much in common. For example, I learnt that Rolls-Royce, Bombardier and Toyota are based here and in Xinbei we also have many world class companies – 30 of them are Fortune Global 500 companies.

It is our desire to twin with Derby to promote economic, investment and cultural cooperation.

Changzhou has a very strong Equipment Manufacturing and Chemicals & New Materials industry. Its emerging industries are in New Energy Vehicles, Aviation, Creative, Life Science and Photovoltaics.

Leader of Derby City Council, Ranjit Banwait, expressed similar sentiments saying this was a relationship that he wishes to explore.

It was a pleasure meeting Madame Hu and other senior figures from the Xinbei District.  This high-tech manufacturing district has much in common with Derby and this is an opportunity to establish investment, trading and cultural ties.

During the East Midlands Engine delegation visit to Hefei in November 2016, Derby City Council paid a courtesy call on the local government of Changzhou City. That visit was encouraged by the Chinese owner of the Derby-based TrainFx, Madame Zhou, who is from Changzhou.

TrainFX is a UK based rail technology company specialising in bespoke, turn-key and fully integrated on-train solutions.

This was a reciprocal visit designed to explore trade, cultural, economic and business opportunities.

Changzhou, with a population of 3.6 million and GDP of UD$84 billion (approx. £68 billion) in 2016, has been named by Forbes Magazine as the 12th Best Commercial City in China. It is home to about 10,000 enterprises of which 1,600 are non-Chinese companies with an investment portfolio of about US$850m (approx. £684m).

The areas of foreign cooperation by Changzhou City include student exchanges and invitation for native English language teachers to teach in Changzhou schools.

Published: Wednesday 15th February