Cambridgeshire County Council leader secures new rent-free headquarters in China to boost trade opportunities
PUBLISHED: 10:18 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 10:18 14 June 2019
Chinese businessmen and local government officials have given Cambridgeshire businesses and the county council a three-year, rent free office to boost trade.
The deal was secured by county council leader Steve Count during a trade mission to China to forge better links with companies wanting to invest in Cambridgeshire.
Securing the entire floor of a 1.2million sq m building in the High Tech quarter of Yangzhou City in Jiangsu province is one of the outcomes of three years work by Cllr Count and chief executive Gillian Beasley.
The city is soon to be connected by high speed rail link with the neighbouring global trade powerhouse Shanghai.
Cllr Count said: "This exciting opportunity I believe will result in even more lasting benefits for the people of Cambridgeshire - with the potential to open up new avenues for jobs and prosperity - and for partners in China, who are eager to invest in and benefit from our expertise."
Cllr Count and Ms Beasley have been developing relationships with foreign investors interested in Cambridgeshire, including working closely with Martin Garrett of Cambridge Cleantech and Dr Chenguang Sun from UK Cambridge Education Centre.
They hope to encourage local companies and investors to collaborate with Chinese companies and investors and vice versa.
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The new office is entirely financed by Chinese businesses and Chinese local government for three years with no obligations.
It will be available for the future use of Cambridgeshire businesses and new start-up companies - particularly those focussed on areas being promoted by Cleantech such as transport, communication, air quality, resource efficiency, smart cities, energy and construction.
During the visit, Cllr Count discussed a possible Cambridgeshire Science and Enterprise event in China, and Chinese science parks co-operating on investment with Cambridgeshire science parks.
Cllr Count said: "Cambridgeshire has a global reputation as a hub for innovation and development, and many areas of the world are very keen to build stronger links with us.
"We already have good relationships with China through the very many business people who have completed their education here."
He added: "I am pleased that productive talks centred on our Cleantech industry.
"Cambridgeshire is at the forefront of Cleantech in the UK and this Chinese interest in financial, scientific and technical collaborations demonstrates that."
During an interview on a local Chinese TV station, Cllr Count said that links between Yangzhou and Cambridgeshire could have a 'win win' effect, as both have a lot of similarities.