GREAT Festival of Creativity in full swing: UK companies are finding new opportunities in China

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Upon the Duke of Cambridge’s first visit to China, President Xi told him that the British Royal family holds great influence, not just in the UK but across the world, and that over the years, “the royal family has shown great interest in, and support for, Chinese/UK relations”.

The prince’s visit “would surely go a long way to developing mutual understanding and friendly ties between China and British people,” he added.

As part of his role of being advocate to “brand Britain”, the duke launched the GREAT Festival of Creativity last night.

The festival will create a unique partnership between the UK government and private sector to create jobs and growth by supporting UK companies looking to break into fast growing Chinese markets. In total, the festival is expected to bring in £150m to the UK economy over the next five years.

Now in its second day, the festival is welcoming more than 2,000 leading business men and women, including Sir John Sorrell, Jo Malone, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Kelly Hoppen, Sir Martin Sorrell, Brent Hoberman, Thomas Heatherwick, Jack Ma and Liang Xinjun.

Lord Livingston, UK trade minister, said: “Our creative industries are a highly valued asset to the UK – worth almost £80bn a year to our economy and employing 1.6m people. I am delighted to see so many British companies at the GREAT Festival of Creativity in Shanghai.

“The festival offers great opportunities to deepen collaboration and partnerships between the UK and China across a range of areas that benefit from our GREAT creativity.”

Read more about the GREAT festival:

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Thus far, announced today, a partnership between Birmingham Airport, Hainan Airlines and leading Chinese tour operator Caissa Touristic has been formed. Together they are set to launch 17 return Beijing-Birmingham flights this summer, creating £19m for the Birmingham and wider West Midlands economy. These flights form part of a long-term plan aimed at scheduled flights from China to Birmingham.

A collaboration between the British Museum, Chinese broadcaster CCTV and digital media agency Yadii is also set to produce a documentary. The Magic Museum, or Magic M, as the supporting app will be called, will introduce Chinese audiences to some of the most popular treasures in the British Museum.

Then there’s the co-production treaty between the UK and China, negotiated by the British Film Institute (BFI) and China’s Film Bureau and China Film Co-production Corporation, will allow qualifying film co-productions to access domestic benefits, including sources of finance and an easier route to audiences. 

This includes BBC Worldwide and Smart English, which is officially started the roll out of its learning centres in China, starting with the first CBeebies-themed English Learning Language in mid-2015.

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Secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Sajid Javid MP will be announcing the treaty tomorrow, where he will say: “The UK and China are home to two of the biggest and best film industries in the world, so both of our countries have much to gain from forging closer links.

“This treaty will pave the way for UK producers and their Chinese counterparts to share their creative expertise and make incredible films that will be enjoyed around the world.”

And by having Shanghai Asian Brokers Co Ltd, one of the first Chinese insurance brokers, set up in the UK, London’s position as a leading global insurance centre will be reinforced.

The economy also looks set to further benefit from Chinese tourism, according to a report commissioned by InterContinental Hotels Group. It says the average spend in the UK by Chinese travellers will rise 425 per cent to £4.2bn in 2023. 

Since 2010 British goods exports to China have more than doubled. With the most recent figures, from January to June 2014, showing UK exports of goods to China were £6.6bn, an increase of nine per cent from the same period in 2013.

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