Chinese-speaking students helping SMEs export to China

The GREAT Ambassadors scheme is a pilot set up by UK Trade & Investment and the University of Sheffield. 

SMEs already involved in the scheme include Chatsworth House, which featured in Pride and Prejudice, and vineyard parts manufacturing company Gripple.

Sally Hogg, head of visitor services and marketing at Chatsworth, which has a high number of Chinese visitors, said: “Through our partnership with Sheffield University and their Chinese speaking students we will be able to improve our programme of events and activities for the Chinese market, using their skills and experience and at the same time providing opportunities for the students to gain valuable skills for their future careers.”

Hogg added the students will help with social media, improved events, exhibitions, guided tours, signage and translated materials.       

Trade minister Lord Livingston said: “China offers great opportunities for UK companies of all sizes, with growing demand for brand Britain. Chinese-speaking students can help UK businesses to overcome the linguistic and cultural barriers that could stand between them and the Chinese market.”

Interns will undertake a range of projects including: helping companies establish online presence, for example, on Tmall China’s equivalent to eBay; help market the company via Chinese social media channels such as Weibo, the Chinese equivalent to Twitter; liaising with Chinese distributors; support company representatives on market visits to China; and identify ways to cater for Chinese tourists such as menus and signage.

Paul White, deputy vice chancellor at the University of Sheffield, said: “This scheme gives our Chinese speaking students the unique opportunity to acquire valuable employability skills with innovative companies who are looking to develop and expand their trade links with China.”

China has been chosen as the target market for the pilot scheme as their import demand is expected to dwarf all the other emerging powers, rising by $3.4tn between 2010 and 2020. China is also expected to invest $1.25tn overseas in the next decade, according to a statement from the UKTI.

One of the students taking part said: “The businesses will get the opportunity to learn more about China the language, culture and how people do business. They can take the advantage of Chinese students’ skills to communicate to Chinese business partners effectively.”

The pilot programme is running for the entire 2014-2015 academic year. Companies wishing to participate in the programme should contact Yiyun Ling at the University of Sheffield or visit the website.

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