The Isle of Man has played host to a delegation of leading business people from the London operations of some of China's leading companies.
Representatives from banking, shipping, telecoms, petrochemicals and food were led by Zhou Xiaoming, Minister Counsellor, Economic & Commercial Office, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in London and Mr Yang Schicheng, Chairman, China Enterprises Association in Britain.
The objective of the visit from the Chinese delegation was to better understand the opportunities available for Chinese businesses in the Isle of Man, for example as an ideal gateway to Europe for the increasing numbers of Chinese companies looking to trade and invest there. The visit also provided a chance for Isle of Man companies to discuss investment into China.
The delegation also met with the Lieutenant Governor, the Chief Minister and the Minister for Economic Development as well as meeting, at their request, with leading Isle of Man businesses such as Swagelok, LT Ugland Shipping, ILS and Manx Telecom. The delegation also attended a lunch with members of the Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce.
The Chinese delegation learnt about the advantages of doing business in the Isle of Man establishing banking and manufacturing operations in the Isle of Man, registering ships, buying property and other assets in the UK and using the Isle of Man as a trading hub for Chinese companies exporting to the EU.
Minister for Economic Development, John Shimmin MHK, commented:
'This visit by the Chinese delegation is further evidence of the success of the Department’s country strategy to develop business links with China. There has been a genuine partnership between Government and the private sector via the China Forum and credit is due to all those involved in helping to make this visit such a success.'
Michael Charlton, Director of International Business Development, Department of Economic Development commented:
'This was the first visit of its kind to the Isle of Man and it is highly encouraging that the Chinese delegation had expressed a desire to visit here over other jurisdictions. We have been very proactive over the last year in building relationships with key Chinese Government Ministries, trade bodies and business leaders with three visits from Isle of Man delegations having visited China already and another planned for the Autumn.'
Mr Zhou Xiaoming, Minister Counsellor, Economic & Commercial Office, Embassy of the People's Republic of China in London commented:
'This is my first visit to the Isle of Man and I have been impressed by the diversity of the Island's economy, the range of opportunities available to Chinese business and the warmth of the welcome from our Manx hosts. We see this visit as the beginning of a lasting relationship and very much look forward to working together with the Isle of Man Government and the Island's businesses we have met to mutual advantage.'
Lars Ugland, Owner of LT Ugland Bulk (IOM) Ltd said:
'I was very impressed by the quality of the delegation. I believe this visit by the Chinese offers the Island great possibilities and I am sure we will see some positive results from this visit.'
Chris Eaton, Chief Executive, ILS Group Ltd said:
'I found everyone I spoke to interested in the opportunities that the Isle of Man had to offer. I was particularly struck at the balance of the delegation – there were Chinese Government representatives, leading figures from major Chinese State-owned businesses and others who act as advisers to Chinese businesses looking to establish an international presence for the first time.'