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UK companies networking to lure investment from China (5)

By ecily Liu and Zhang Chunyan (China Daily)

14:31, April 23, 2013

In addition, local businesses and academic institutions also play a key role in helping local governments attract inward investment, offering valuable market knowledge and contacts.

One example is the University of Nottingham, which is doing research and development to help the Chinese automotive producer Changan Automobile Group Co Ltd upgrade its technology. This cooperation has led Changan to establish an R&D center in Nottingham, creating more than 60 jobs.

The University of Nottingham's Asia Business Center is working closely with Nottingham City Council to draft the council's China engagement strategy, said a council spokesman.

But the UK's local governments do not just work hard to attract Chinese investors, they do much more to help Chinese businesses to grow and prosper in the UK.

"We are keen for investors to grow, because that would create local jobs and drive the local economy," said Andrew Finney, councilor on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, whose team has helped the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei extensively over the years.

When Huawei moved its UK headquarters from London to Basingstoke in 2003, Finney's team helped Huawei find a suitable office, accommodation for employees, and a location for a company canteen.

As most UK schools require students to register in advance due to capacity restraints, Finney's team worked especially hard with local schools to create extra capacity to accommodate the children of Huawei employees. His team also made Huawei a member of its local business forum, which hosts meetings for businesses to discuss the growth strategy of the local area.

"Huawei has become an integral part of our community," Finney said, adding that witnessing Huawei's headquarters team grow from only 150 employees in 2003 to 400 now is particularly rewarding.

Finney adds that Huawei's contributions to Basingstoke go beyond direct economic results. "Firstly, as Huawei is one of the major Chinese investors in the UK, we can use Huawei as a promotional case study to attract more investment," he said.

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