Deep friendship on economic and trade cooperation between Wales and Shanghai

发布时间:2018-08-08 来源:中国网商务 作者:王晓艺 孙昉 责任编辑:梁长玉

By Wang XiaoyiSun Fang

The Welsh Government Shanghai Office is located in the high-end business building of Beijing West Road in Shanghai. Through the door, there is a spacious lounge, and then there are many meeting rooms. Many people are negotiating here.

“We set up the office in 2014, aiming at providing investment and trade services between Shanghai and Wales, including attracting China’s investment to Wales and helping Welsh companies do better work in China.” Sun Qing, the ChiefOfficer of the Welsh Government Shanghai Office, said Wales has long attached great importance on cooperation with Shanghai, and the cooperation between two sides will enhance to a new level.

Well-known manufacturing center in the UK

The Wales is located in the southwest of England, on the east of England, and surrounded by the sea on three sides. It faces the Irish island across the sea. It covers an area of 20,779 square kilometers, accounting for about 10% of the total area of the UK. It has a population of more than 3 million, accounting for 5% of the total population of the UK.

Starting from the industrial revolution, Wales always keeps the center of modern manufacturing industry in the UK. It has built a sound basic infrastructure, combined production and scientific research and attracted a large number of high-tech talents. With world-class research and manufacturing capabilities, it has strong international competitiveness in aviation, automobile, electronics, semiconductor, information technology, clean energy, and biotechnology.

“Welsh academic institutions are focused on business, which had impetus for carrying on scientific research. Our universities and colleges can work perfectly with the business circles,and provide facilities, skills and research fruits for the success of innovation and technology commercialization.” Sun Qing said that the Welsh government is ensuring that companies are always at the forefront of technology and manufacturing development via targeted support programs.“We are seeking for the ways that combined academic skills with industry needs. One of our ways was that the business company worked with academic staff together to enhance production capacity of key industries and meet the needs of the company. By providing professional facilities, we will continue to improve the external environment for accelerating the growth of companies based on technology and knowledge."

Wales’ historic experience is reference for Shanghai

The development history of Wales can provide a reference for Shanghai. During the industrial revolution, Wales exploited local coal resources and promoted the great development of UK's economy. In the 1950s, the British society recognized the pollution issues of coalmines and steel plants. The economic structure of Wales began to adjust, which gradually cut off these pollution source. Wales stated to transform itself into advanced manufacturing industry.

"We have both positive and negative experiences," Sun Qing said that the Wales’environmental industry started earlier and has the technology of contaminated soil remediation. Wales has already cooperated with Chinese companies such as Baosteel to jointly prevent and control pollution and protect environment in China.   

Welsh companies have achieved a success in high-end manufacturing, such as strong research and development ability on coupled semiconductor. From material to chip and application, the entire industrial chain is relatively complete. Besides, the chip casting and semiconductor packaging are doing very well. The only composite semiconductor catapult center was set up in Wales.   

Most of the Welsh companies are middle and small-sized enterprises, and they are dedicated to the work of their fields. Although these companies are not big, they are respected in their industries. A technology company called Spectrum in Wales, the world's first manufacturer of laser printers, which is the only supplier for China's large aircraft project C919 (Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd). Compared with other similar devices, their printers can mark on the cable are more clear and wearable, which can be retained for a long time.  

“Wales and Shanghai can cooperate in many fields. For example, Shanghai enterprises are striving to upgrade their industries. They can use Wales' scientific research capabilities and rich product lines to develop products in Wales, and then industrialize them when they are relatively mature.” Sun Qing pointed out that the Welsh found that many Chinese companies have patriotism for the motherland and they often come back to serve the Chinese market after they got a firm foothold.

Several policies encourage bilateral investment

Wales welcomes Chinese companies to invest.“The investment cost in Wales is not high,” Sun Qing said that the taxation level of the Britain has been declining, which is standardized during the implementation process. Now Wales' tax on enterprise is 20% and it will decline to 17% by 2020.

As an integral part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Wales not only has the UK's shared political, economic, legal, financial and scientific resources, but also has its own municipal government, which has a greater autonomy right in managing its economy and society..

Sun Qing said that the Welsh government is open, pragmatic, flexible and pro-business. If an enterprise encountered any problems in the investment, the enterprise can directly meet the person in charge and even have a direct dialogue with the minister.

The Welsh government has a range of support measures to help enterprises. On the one hand, the government encourages overseas companies to invest in Wales via a variety of measures; On the other hand, the government gives support to the local enterprises for development and overseas exports.

Sun Qing added that the Welsh government also provided financial support to enterprises.“A Chinese company called Acerchem China, which is a leading health care and nutrition company. Through the Welsh Government Shanghai Office, Acerchem began to work with the Swansea University in Wales for studying and extracting effective ingredients of plants. Last year, the company decided to set up its own R&D center in Wales, which can put into production before long. The Welsh government provides investment subsidies for this project, and the supportive policies will be published in the future.” According to the policies, the eligible companies can apply for subsides from the Welsh government if they did research and development, hired locals people, or exported products in Wales.

The Welsh enterprises also can get financial support from the Welsh government if they went to China for investigating market, attending trade fair and finding trade opportunities. The financial support can cover about 75% travelling expenses and accommodation expense.

“We regularly hold seminars on investment policy and market briefings for Welsh companies in China, and hold exchange meetings and matchmaking meetings in Shanghai. We also participate in various activities of Invest Shanghai and SIPP.” In Sun Qing’s view, her office is the window of the Welsh government in Shanghai. It is also the window for Chinese enterprises and the Chinese people to know Wales.“We have connected more Welsh companies connect with Chinese enterprises and institutions, which is a bridge for Welsh companies to enter China.”        

From love at first sight to brew cooperation agreement

Shanghai has a high status in Wales and is regarded as an important cooperation partner. Sun Qing's recalled that the connection between Shanghai's enterprises, institutions and Wales is more active than other regions, and the content of cooperation is more abundant.

At the beginning of the establishment of the Welsh Government Shanghai Office, it has cooperated with the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board and maintained a close relationship for a long time.

Sun Qing introduced a detail about the cooperation. Every year, Wales has an economic and trade delegation to come to China. The first stop is always Shanghai. The Welsh believes that Welsh enterprises can enter the Chinese market via Shanghai, which has formed a pattern. Every the delegation visits China every March and the trip includes two cities. Like this year, the first stop in Shanghai and then go to Hong Kong.

Sun Qing added that the current minister of economic affairs of Wales attaches importance to the exchanges with China. He has led the economic and trade delegation for two years. During the visit to Shanghai in March this year, he communicated withvarious departments of the Shanghai Municipal Government and intended to sign a cooperation agreement with the Shanghai Foreign Investment Development Board, which enhanced the cooperation of two sides to a new level.

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