UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox Introduces GREAT Festival of Innovation to Officials and Business Leaders in Shenzhen China

UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox visited Shenzhen China on Thursday, 4 January to speak with Chinese Government officials and business leaders about the GREAT Festival of Innovation, which will take place in Hong Kong in March 2018. During the visit, Liam Fox gave a speech at the Ritz-Carlton Shenzhen where he discussed strong developments in Chinese and British innovation and further growing thriving technology and trade opportunities (5 January 2018).

In Shenzhen, Dr Fox promoted the government-backed GREAT Festival of Innovation which will showcase the latest technology from the UK and Asia. He also took the opportunity to meet with Design Society at its new home, the Sea World Culture and Art Centre in Shekou. The result of a partnership between China Merchants Shekou and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Design Society places emphasis on innovation through design via its exhibition programme and arrives in China at a time when policymakers are increasingly turning to design to address some of the vastly complex social, environmental, and infrastructural challenges of a growing country.

The UK’s Department for International Trade will be welcoming the UK and Asia region’s top industry leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, educationalists and businesses at the four-day Festival to be held at Asia Society Hong Kong Centre from 21 to 24 March 2018. Speakers from the business sector in China will be an important feature in the event schedule, to be announced next month.

China is the UK’s fifth largest trading partner in the world, with trade between the countries worth GBP59.1 billion based on the latest figures (2016).  In the same period the UK exported GBP16.8bn of goods and services, making China the UK’s eight largest export market.

The Department for International Trade has also just announced up GBP25 billion in financial support — including loan guarantees — for UK businesses operating along the Belt & Road initiative (BRI). The initiative, set up by the Chinese government, aims to increase economic cooperation with countries around the world along key transport routes.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said: “China as a world leading economy and the UK’s fifth largest trading partner, is an important market for British companies as we look beyond the boundaries of Europe to build independent trading relationships with the rest of the world.

“The Great Festival of Innovation will bring together the best entrepreneurs and the most advanced technology across the UK and Asia to explore how we will work, live, play and learn in the future. As global markets evolve, it will be crucial to embrace the change that comes with it.”

Deputy Director-General of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) Shenzhen Committee, Mr Jingwei Guo, pointed out: “Shenzhen has seen rapid development in technology, life science, AI, industry, design and finance. There are great opportunities for Shenzhen to work with the UK in areas of R&D and technical application. We should build up cooperation for innovation in order to further enhance collaborations on a policy and funding level.”

Representative from the Festival’s Principal Partner HSBC, Head of Commercial Banking for China, Frank Fang, said: “Shenzhen has become the heart of a thriving “Silicon Delta” in Guangdong which connects high-end manufacturing expertise, entrepreneurs and capital. The Greater Bay Area strategy also holds great potential for Hong Kong to benefit from the growth of this innovation economy by capitalising on its established strengths as an international financial centre and launchpad for Chinese companies expanding overseas. HSBC is proud to support the Great Festival of Innovation and innovative businesses from across the Greater Bay Area.”

About GREAT Festival of Innovation 2018

The GREAT Festival of Innovation, to be held at Asia Society Hong Kong Centre from 21 to 24 March 2018, is the third of its kind after the success of the GREAT Festivals of Creativity in Istanbul (2014) and Shanghai (2015). Its vision is to share innovation and create life-long partnerships that will drive the future of free trade and prosperity between the UK, Hong Kong and the region.

The Festival will explore the latest in cutting-edge innovation and the future of how we work, live, play and learn through a series of talks, panels and interactive workshops over four days. Bringing together some of the world’s brightest minds, business leaders and policy makers, the Festival will provide a unique platform for powerful future partnerships.

The GREAT Campaign

Bringing the best of Britain to the world

The GREAT Britain campaign showcases the best of what the whole nation has to offer to inspire the world and encourage people to visit, do business, invest and study in the UK. It is the Government’s most ambitious international promotional campaign, uniting the efforts of the public and private sector to generate jobs and growth for Britain. The campaign has already secured confirmed economic returns of GBP3.1bn for the UK.               

The UK has a huge amount to offer, with world-class universities, ground breaking research, high tech start-ups and entrepreneurial business people. Global leaders in the creative industries like music, fashion, design and film, the UK can offer visitors unforgettable experiences, breath-taking landscapes and iconic attractions.

The GREAT Britain campaign captures the best of all that is familiar about the UK, but also what is new and surprising about the country.