By Claire West

Business Secretary Dr. Vince Cable today urged UK firms to explore the opportunities in China’s regional cities at a meeting with mayors from municipalities across China.

The Secretary of State said:

“China is not one market. It is many markets. UK companies can reap the benefits of trading and investing in the world’s second largest economy by looking beyond the established commercial centres in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

“There are provinces in China with greater populations than Ireland, Denmark and Belgium put together. They represent huge opportunities for UK firms. For companies new to China it can be hard to decide where to start, but the answer lies in seeking out the city or region that matches your business needs.”

A UK Trade and Investment report entitled ‘Opportunities for UK Businesses in China’s Regional Cities’ identified the 35 regional cities in China that are most attractive for UK businesses.

From an initial survey of over 270 Chinese cities with a population of over one million, these cities accounted for around 16 per cent of China’s population and 36% of China’s GDP.

UK firms agreed deals in China’s regional cities during three days of intensive trade talks between the Chinese Government and a UK Government delegation led by Prime Minister David Cameron.

NorthgateArinso in Hemel Hempstead will be measuring the carbon footprint of Wuxi in eastern China in a deal agreed with the city’s mayor. And David Lock Associates in Milton Keynes agreed an urban design project worth £150,000 with the Planning and Design Institute in Wuhan in central China.

A new report published in July 2010 focuses specifically on Shandong Province, which is China’s third most populous province and also ranks third in order of GDP. Shandong’s population of 94 million is one and a half times the size of the UK’s population.

The reports can be downloaded from the UKTI website on:

UK-China: twinned for success

A number of Chinese cities and regions are already twinned with UK cities and regions. Edinburgh’s twin city of Xi’an has a greater population than the whole of Scotland, Swansea’s twin city of Nantong has a population more than twice that of Wales and Sichuan province, twinned with Leicestershire, has a population bigger than the entire UK.

China City UK Twin Town

Dalian, population 5.7m

Sichuan Province, population over 80m

Changchun, population 7.3m

Ningbo, population 5.5.m

Nantong, population 7.7m

Jinan, population 6m

Xi’an, population 7.4m

Tangshan, population 7.1m

Qingdao, population 7.3m

Shaoxing, population 4.35m
Amber Valley, Derbyshire

Hangzhou, population 6.6m

Hefei, population 4.55m

Wuhan, population 8m

Weihai, population 2.5m

Yantai, population 6.5m

Xiamen, population 1.5m