Friday 21st October saw the return of the pro-manchester Economics Conference which took place at The Radisson Blue Hotel, Manchester Airport. Over 200 delegates attended the event to hear expert analysis from economists and business leaders speak about the business opportunities arising between Manchester and China.
Held in partnership with Manchester Airport and in association with the Manchester China Forum and The Chinese Consulate, John Ashcroft anchored the day and explored updates on the economy of China and the foreign investment plans.
Sir Howard Bernstein kicked things off by discussing the importance of the connection, trade and investment between the UK and China. Touching on the development of the links between Greater Manchester, China, Beijing and Shanghai over the last five years.
“China is a huge and growing market, with the Chinese economy continuing to experience strong growth. Businesses in Manchester should be aware of the importance of working proactively to build beneficial links with China that both boosts the profitability of businesses and the wider Greater Manchester economy”.
The first panel session of the day included Loic Gao- GM Hainan Airlines, Rhys Whalley- Manchester-China Forum and Baron Frankal- Manchester Airport Group who covered the “importance of travel and tourism”.
Baron Frankal discussed the connections with China which form a huge and important part of the Manchester Airport Group Strategy. Plus touching on the Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong, the Hainan flight to Beijing, Etihad into Shanghai and more routes into Shanghai are to follow.
Sir Richard Leese, Manchester City Council spoke to John Ashcroft about his visits to China and the importance of the great economy to the future of Manchester. Going into detail on the 30 year relationship and links between Manchester and China.
Before the coffee break Dr. Sun Dali, Consul General took to the stage to deliver a key-note speech, focussing on how China has made a huge leap forward and achieved extraordinary economic and social growth, especially in the course of the past three decades. He concentrated on the importance of the relationship between Manchester and China and focused on opportunities for investment and trade between the two countries
Throughout the day Jim O’Neil was with us via video expanding on developments in China, the future opportunities for Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse growth. Plus he shared some insights into his resignation.
Ed Cox –IPPR, John Currie- Carillion and Dr Shengke Zhi- AMEC Foster Wheeler were welcome to the stage to discuss in further detail “property, construction and infrastructure”.
Construction is an important part of the national and Greater Manchester economy. The panel spoke about the developments in the Manchester Airport enterprise zone and investments in commercial real estate. Plus looking at what’s next for the Northern Powerhouse including plans for HS2 & HS3. They also touched on the Hinkley Nuclear Power Plant and further nuclear expansion plans in the UK.
Speaking about the event, pro-manchester Chief Executive John Ashcroft said:
“China is a major driving force for the promotion of the world economic development. The UK must seize the golden opportunity to continuously enhance the pragmatic cooperation between China and the UK in the future”.
“The conference provided a great way to highlight business opportunities arising between Manchester and China. Attendees were able to understand opportunities from Chinese investment in Manchester and North West and get to grips with China’s interest in the Northern Powerhouse”.
Sponsors of the event include Manchester Airport, Manchester Metroplitan University, Manchester China Forum, Pickles Creative & Media, Carillion, China-Britain Business Council, The Manchester Growth Company and The University of Manchester.