Region targets Chinese investment

THE East of England has been showcasing its hi-tech telecoms capabilities in a bid to attract inward investment from Chinese companies. A high profile Chinese telecoms delegation reacted positively as it was given a tour of communication giant BT's Adastral Park at Ipswich, including its hi-tech CIP centre, as part of a two-day event offering an insight into what the region has to offer.

THE East of England has been showcasing its hi-tech telecoms capabilities in a bid to attract inward investment from Chinese companies.

A high profile Chinese telecoms delegation reacted positively as it was given a tour of communication giant BT's Adastral Park at Ipswich, including its hi-tech CIP centre, on Thursday as part of a two-day event offering an insight into what the region has to offer.

It is hoped new industry links will be established between the region and China as a result of the visit, which was hosted by East of England International (EEI).

Delegates included senior representatives of the Chinese Embassy, China Mobile UK, China Netcom UK and other telecoms businesses.

Phil Dance, managing director of technology exploitation at BT said they were very keen for Martlesham to participate in the global telecoms industry.

“What we are trying to do is to reach out to the growing economies from the East of England. We are trying to make them realise that the East of England is the best place to come,” he said.

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“My view is I think it went well and hopefully there will be some follow-up visits and some actions as a result of meeting today.”

Steven Ireland, head of the technology team at EEI, said the idea for the visit followed a meeting with He Daniel, who is currently doing a PhD at Cambridge University and is co-founder of HE ventures, and Ge Qi, chief representative of China Mobile UK rep office.

“We had a very brief meeting in Cambridge and hit upon the idea of bringing a Chinese delegation to the East of England to look at the technology skills and the innovation and get a showcase of what's going on here,” he said.

Around 25 small to medium-sized enterprises from the East of England showcased their capabilities when the delegation returned to Cambridge.

“It's about trying to attract these companies to establish a presence in the region, and also to collaborate with businesses in the region as well.”

“The initial feedback is very positive. It's very early days obviously. They are some of the biggest telecoms and equipment companies in the world so it's got to be cutting edge for them to look at them seriously. The reason they have all decided to come is because they feel taking a good look at the region gives them a chance to look at the capabilities,” said Mr Ireland.

Mr Ge said it was good to get an understanding of the local market and also to know some of the local companies.

“It's very important for us to know the local resources,” he said.

Mr He pointed out that Martlesham was near London and communication was good.

“They have experience. Forty years it's a long time to get things right. You have a culture here for this excellent research,” he said.

He said the visit had been “very positive”.

“Everyone likes it,” he said.

Organisers said the delegates were “unanimous” in their positive feedback on the event and impressed by the exciting innovations they had seen first hand at Adastral Park from BT and CIP Technologies.

Madam Jiang Fan, Minister Counsellor, Economic and Commercial Office, Embassy of People's Republic of China, gave a commitment to strengthening UK-China links to encourage more inward investment by Chinese companies.

“As Minister my job is to promote innovation and collaboration”, she said.

“The East of England and the opportunities it provides in terms of research is a very important factor in furthering the relationship between the two countries. Seeing this for yourself once is better than hearing about it 100 times from someone else.”