Last week civic and business leaders from Derby and Derbyshire formed part of a successful ‘Midlands Engine’ investment and trade delegation to Hefei city in Anhui Province, China.

Building on the strong relationship Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council have already established with Hefei, one of the fastest growing cities in China, the delegation presented twelve significant investment projects to Chinese investors.

David Williams, Chairman of Geldards law firm said:

The Hefei region is recognised as one of the fastest growing and important regions of economic performance in China. This trade delegation includes some of Derby’s leading and multi-national businesses as well as senior representatives from Central & Local Government and Academia and will enable us to establish and develop the relationships that will be required to encourage industrial collaboration, inward investment and export opportunities – all of which will be needed as key components for the City to develop to its full and exciting potential.

On Tuesday 1 November the Leader of Derby City Council, Councillor Ranjit Banwait met with the Mayor of Hefei, senior politicians and bureaucrats to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the two cities. Very specific proposals were discussed for working together on business, cultural and education projects. There is clearly a shared focus in Derby and Derbyshire, Hefei and Anhui Province on advanced engineering, healthcare, life sciences and creative industries.

Leader of Derby City Council, Councillor Ranjit Banwait said:

I am excited by the opportunities that lie ahead for our two cities, which will be stronger following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding. Both of our cities are full of passionate people, willing to share knowledge and drive forward the possibilities this partnership brings. It will open doors to joint business ventures, inward investment, opportunities for universities, cultural and tourism programmes, sharing knowledge and also creating lasting friendships.

Councillor Banwait, Leader of Derby City Council with the Mayor of Hefei, signing the Memorandum of Understanding with Hefei city.

A key purpose of the delegation to China is to attract investment to Derby and open up opportunities for Derby companies to trade with China. With this in mind, the delegation attended the Regional Leaders Summit in Shanghai on Wednesday 2 November where Councillor Martin Rawson presented opportunities for sport and regeneration in Derby. They also attended the Fourth China Outbound conference in Shanghai on Thursday 3 November, with a solid reputation for matching Chinese investors with the best project and technology opportunities in the UK. The Derby City Centre Masterplan and Infinity Park Derby both featured strongly in the prospectus of investment opportunities being presented at the conference.

John Forkin, Managing Director at Marketing Derby attended the conference and said:

The main morning session focused on the Midlands Engine and Patrick Horgan, Regional Director North-East Asia for Rolls-Royce, gave an excellent endorsement as to why investors should look at the Midlands, and in particular, Derby. I’m especially pleased when he says that Rolls-Royce is defined by Derby, which itself was a cradle for the industrial revolution.

Other principle aims of the visit are to explore University to University partnerships, joint research collaborations and attract Chinese students to study in Derby. In addition, the development of exciting cultural and tourism programmes between the two cities will ultimately encourage Chinese tourists to come and stay in Derby.

Watch the video below to hear about the opportunities John Edwards, British Consul General for Shanghai envisages between Derby and Hefei in China.