By: 14 July 2016
Opportunities ripe for Northern companies to do more business in China, says Ward Hadaway

Ward Hadaway has said that opportunities are ripe for companies in the North to do more business in China.

Representatives from Ward Hadaway made the assessment after attending the China-Shaanxi SME Cross-Border Investment and Trade Cooperation Conference in the city of Xi’an.

The three-day event saw delegates from around the world meet up with representatives of more than 600 companies from Shaanxi Province to help forge new trade links.

Ward Hadaway was among eight delegates from the UK attending the conference, which was organised by Bank of China.

During the event, the Ward Hadaway delegation – head of commercial Colin Hewitt and commercial litigation partner Elaine Chan – held a series of face-to-face meetings with representatives from a number of Chinese businesses.

Chan, who has a range of experience working with businesses in China and those trading with China, said the conference had demonstrated the real appetite which Chinese companies have for doing business with the UK – and the opportunities for the North’s companies in China.

“There are opportunities for a wide range of different industries including textiles, high end manufacturing, household goods, retail, new technology, and modern agriculture,” she said.

“China remains a significant market for goods and services.

“Until you visit China, you don’t really appreciate the size of the country and population – it is a huge place where each city is enormous and where development is happening on a scale unlike anything in the UK.”

Major infrastructure schemes in China are also a source of potential trade for Northern businesses.

“Xi’an, where the conference took place, is within a major Chinese government initiative called One Belt One Road, part of which is designed to rebuild the ancient Silk Road overland trading route, and develop economic corridors from China through Central Asia to Europe,” added Chan.

“The Chinese are encouraging businesses from around the world with expertise on such developments to get involved now so this is a major opportunity for UK businesses, from engineering and manufacturing companies to consultancies.”

China also offers opportunities to professional services firms such as Ward Hadaway. Colin Hewitt revealed that a lot of the visit was taken up in outlining the firm’s commercial services to Chinese companies.

“We had a lot of interest from them before and during our trip,” he said.

“There is a big emphasis on collaboration in business and developing long term relationships. It’s more about helping each other and growing together so we spoke to a number of companies interested in potential partnerships with companies in the UK, especially in new technology, energy and resources, transport and infrastructure.

“Many companies at the conference are doing well in China and they were aiming to extend their international reach, not just to the UK but also worldwide.”

PICTURE CAPTION: (From third left) Elaine Chan and Colin Hewitt of Ward Hadaway with (second from left) Chen Li, Trade Finance Director of Shaanxi Material Non Ferrous Metals Co Ltd and (far left and far right) representatives from Bank of China