24 January 2012

Yorkshire's Links with China

I have just returned from the Chinese New Year Show at Sheffield City Hall and was bowled over. It was an excellent show with acrobats, dancers, dragons, face changers, jugglers, pandas and even acrobats on roller skates.  The night before I attended the Liverpool Chinese Business Network's VIP Dinner in Liverpool which also had a show (see Jane Lambert "Welcome to the Year of the Dragon" IP North West 23 Jan 2012). That was very good but the Sheffield spectacular was even better. Everyone knows that there have been Chinese communities in Liverpool and Manchester for generations. What is less well known is that there is also a Chinese community in Yorkshire. Its links with China are at least as strong as the North West's.

One of the most important connections between China and Yorkshire is the Confucius Institute of Sheffield University. This is an international collaboration between the University of Sheffield, the Office of Chinese Language Council International (commonly known as Hanban), Beijing Language and Culture University and Nanjing University. Its mission includes a number of objectives the first of which is to be "a focal point for China-related activities in Sheffield and the broader region of the Midlands and Northern England."

Another connection will be the "Visions of China" theme park which is to be built in Rotherham. This £100 million project will include ornamental lakes and gardens; retail outlets; a Shaolin temple and cultural centre, a theatre, restaurants, spa, pavilions and an hotel. The project will be undertaken by the Chinese government.

In "Happy New Year - this could be the year the recovery starts"  I argued that China and other rapidly growing emerging economises would lift us from recession starting this year.   The "Visions of China" investment is one sign that that is happening.  Other signs include China Telecom's MVNO and Huawei's continuing  investment in the UK.

As the State Intellectual Property Office of China is now the second largest recipient of patent applications according to the WIPO, demand for Chinese technology is likely to increase from the UK. Should you require advice or assistance in drafting licences and technology transfer agreements, do not hesitate to call me on 0113 320 3232.