The Manchester China Forum, the business-led initiative aimed at increasing Greater Manchester’s commercial connectivity with China, has been recognised for its outstanding contribution to UK-China relations by Hurun Report.
At the Annual Hurun Business Awards in London, the Manchester China Forum won an award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to UK-China Relations’.
Hurun Report is one of China’s most respected business-related media organisations - equivalent to China’s Forbes magazine. Its founder Rupert Hoogewerf, is regarded as the Godfather of the China Rich List and has established Hurun as the leading authority on tracking the rapid rise of China’s business leaders.
The Hurun Business Awards celebrate the success of organisations that have made significant contributions to building bridges between China and the UK.
The Manchester-China Forum’s win establishes it in league with previous award winners including Wanda Group (China’s largest commercial property company), Bank of China, Nottingham University and Jaguar Land Rover.
Founded in 2013, the Manchester-China Forum is an innovative vehicle that leads Greater Manchester’s China engagement strategy and works to increase commercial connectivity with China. Since its launch, the Forum’s unique public-private partnership model has received acclaim as a successful platform that ensures that Manchester is equipped and ready for China’s continued global ascendancy.
Over the last 5 years the Forum has overseen a period of tremendous progress in the city’s engagement with China including a surge in inward investment, improved connectivity, and the visit of President Xi Jinping. Chinese investors alone are now involved in over £3bn of development across the city.
Core to the Forum’s focus has been recognition of the importance that improved connectivity with the Mainland plays in delivering broader economic benefits. In November 2017, the economic impacts of the Manchester-Beijing route were published highlighting the benefits for the Northern Powerhouse region. UK export values from Manchester Airport have increased 265%, visitor spend into the region has reached £140m and Manchester’s inward investment pipeline has doubled in the last 12 months.
The benefits brought about by growing educational links are also substantial. The city’s Chinese student population alone is growing at twice the rate of the UK average with The University of Manchester placing China at the forefront of its international agenda. A week ago, University of Manchester President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell joined Theresa May and Liam Fox on the Prime Minister’s official visit to China, which included a visit to Manchester’s twin city Wuhan.
Whilst at the China Business Forum in Shanghai, The University’s Dame Nancy Rothwell and Nobel Laureate, Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov, addressed a distinguished audience and fellow speakers which included the Founder of Alibaba and the CEO of Geely Group. The visit coincided with a number of announcements for the University including the establishment of the Manchester-China Institute, its selection to deliver the UK-China Infrastructure Academy, and the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the University and Peking University Health Science Centre to establish a joint research platform.
Rhys Whalley, Executive Director of the Manchester China Forum said: This award is recognition not only of the tremendous progress made by Manchester in its engagement with China, but also the successes that public-private sector partnerships can achieve in advancing engagement with key growth markets.
“Since the Manchester China Forum was first launched back in 2013, our partnership approach has strengthened the region’s relationship with China and has resulted in significant growth in investment activity, the launch of direct routes to Beijing and Hong Kong, and President Xi’s visit to the city.”
David Percival MBE, Chairman of the Manchester China Forum said: “Positioned at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, Manchester is playing an instrumental role in facilitating growing engagement with Chinese organisations who view the North as a major platform for expanding UK-China bilateral trade and investment activity. The Manchester China Forum looks forward to many more successes for this growing bilateral relationship in years to come.”
Charlie Cornish, CEO of Manchester Airports Group said: “The Manchester China Forum has played a pioneering role in forging closer economic and social ties between the two locations.
“Public and private sector organisations have been united in their desire to drive collaboration and cooperation between Manchester and China and this unity and focus has delivered clear benefits.
“Enabled by the launch of two new direct flight services, there has been a significant increase in trade, tourism and investment in both directions and this has provided a platform on which to build an even closer and more fruitful partnership in the years ahead.”
Economist Lord Jim O’Neill said: “As the UK looks ahead to a future outside the European Union, the coming years will be critical in progressing efforts to re-balance economic growth across the country. Building partnerships with key growth markets in the East such as China will be key to delivering on those ambitions. To this end, it is critical that government commits to empowering and supporting UK regions through initiatives such as the Manchester China Forum that demonstrate the clear benefits of improving direct linkages between key regions in the UK and the world’s major engine of global growth.”