An increasingly diverse range of Jersey firms spanning tourism, hospitality and financial services are exploring opportunities to grow business links with China, courtesy of a special event held in London recently that was initiated by the Chinese Ambassador to the UK.
The first ever ‘China Jersey Business Forum’, held on 28 April at the brand new China Construction Bank offices in London, was attended by around 60 business leaders from China and Jersey, including representatives of Chinese travel agents, food distribution companies, inward investment bodies, media outlets and a range of Chinese banks, law firms, accountancy firms and investment managers.
The event follows a visit to Jersey last year by His Excellency Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the UK, who had suggested hosting an event that explored developing business flows between Jersey and China. The event was organised jointly by the Government of Jersey’s Ministry of External Relations and Locate Jersey with support from Jersey Finance and together with the China Enterprises Association in Britain (CEAB) and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT).
As well as featuring addresses from HE Ambassador Liu Xiaoming and Jersey’s Minister for External Relations Senator Sir Philip Bailhache, attendees also heard from Si Pingjun, Chairman of CEAB and CEO of PetroChina in London, Xilai Feng, CEO of China Construction Bank in London, David Walwyn, Director of External Relations, Government of Jersey, and Jin Xu, Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy.
A presentation was given on Jersey’s economy by Joe Moynihan, Jersey’s Director of Financial Services, and Mike King, CEO, Economic Development Department whilst the event also allowed attendees to break out into roundtable meetings to discuss sector-specific issues and opportunities relating to tourism, food, drink and financial services.
Representing Jersey’s tourism sector at the event were Seymour Hotels and the Atlantic Hotel, the food and drink industry included Jersey Dairy, Jersey Oyster Company, La Mare Wine Estate and the Liberation Group, whilst Jersey’s bio-science sector also featured through Clasado.
Jersey’s financial services sector had a strong presence at the event and included, as well as Jersey Finance’s Chief London Representative Richard Nunn, senior professionals from a dozen firms including Barclays, Bedell, Carey Olsen, Elian, First Names Group, Grant Thornton, IFM Trust, Jersey International Business School, JTC Group, Mourant Ozannes, Quilter Cheviot and Stratton Street.
Speaking after the event, Senator Sir Philip Bailhache said: “It is clear that there are significant opportunities for China and Jersey to build strong, lasting and mutually beneficial relationships at both a government and industry level. With that in mind, I was delighted that we could work in partnership with our Chinese colleagues following the Ambassador’s visit to Jersey last year to bring professionals from both countries together for a unique forum to discuss future opportunities right across the tourism, hospitality and well-established finance sectors.”
Tim Crowley, Managing Director of La Mare Wine Estate, added: “Initiatives like this show that there is genuine interest from a broad range of businesses in Jersey in exploring opportunities to tap into a market that offers real export potential. Having the chance to discuss what we and Jersey’s food, drink and hospitality sector more widely can offer was extremely well received, and it’s exciting to think that there is an opportunity here for local brands like La Mare to become distributed throughout China. That can only be to Jersey’s benefit.”
Joe Moynihan commented: “Given Jersey’s strong links with the UK, there is opportunity for Jersey firms to help facilitate the growing flows of investment between China and the UK. Having focused considerably in recent years on building strong relationships with China, Jersey’s finance industry is well placed to capitalise on some significant opportunities and, as this event has shown, is held in extremely high regard in China for financial services work.”