On June 23, the “China-Scotland Cooperation Forum” was successfully organised by China Chamber of Commerce in the UK (CCCUK) and China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) in Edinburgh, themed at “Partnership for a Prosperous Future”. The purpose of this forum is to strengthen the exchanges between Chinese enterprises in Scotland and the local business community, promote investment and cooperation between China and Scotland, and plan for a bright future for China-Scotland economic and trade cooperation.
Scotland has always attracted global investors with its unique cultural and historical heritage, excellent universities, and human resources, traditional products and services, as well as advanced and leading technologies. In Scotland, attention is paid to the development of eight dominant industries, namely financial and business services, technology and engineering, creative, textile, food and beverage, life science and chemical science, oil, natural gas, and new energy, and tourism. Among them, the financial industry alone has gathered more than 2,000 enterprises, making Scotland one of the leading financial centres in Europe. In recent years, Scotland has attached great importance to maintaining a close cooperative relationship with China. Scotland has participated in China International Import Expo (CIIE) for many years, and over 250 Scottish enterprises have cooperated with China. China has become Scotland’s largest source of importers, its seventh-largest export market, its third-largest salmon export market, and its fifth-largest whiskey export market. More than a dozen Chinese enterprises, including PetroChina and BYD, have invested and started businesses in Scotland, continuously expanding cooperation in energy, retail, automobile, innovation and other fields, and making important contributions to promoting local employment and economic development. At present, the British government is investing more development funds for Scotland through the largest levelling up plan to promote the upgrading and development of the local economy, which also brings greater opportunities for cooperation between China and Scotland. In the future, more Chinese enterprises will pay attention to Scotland and intend to explore more business opportunities for cooperative development in the enterprising, diversified, and resource-rich Scotland.
ZHENG Zeguang, Chinese Ambassador to the UK, Ma Qiang, Chinese Consul General in Edinburgh, Graeme White, Global Head of Inward Investment, Strategy and New Investment at Scottish Development International(SDI), FANG Wenjian, Chairman of CCCUK and General Manager, Bank of China London Branch, and Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Chair of CBBC and Group Head of Public Affairs, HSBC Holdings plc attended and delivered speeches. The event was also attended by more than 20 representatives from local Chinese and British enterprises in Scotland and they discussed the cooperation opportunities of both sides in the new era.
Figure 2: Keynote Speech by ZHENG Zeguang, Chinese Ambassador to the UK
In his keynote speech, Ambassador Zheng shared the experience of his visit to Scotland and expressed his views on China-Scotland cooperation. He said that countries in the world are currently facing a series of common challenges: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing risk of economic stagflation in some countries, and intensified geopolitical turmoil. All countries should work together to safeguard world peace and stability, promote global sustainable development, achieve win-win cooperation, and expand openness and integration. All countries should strengthen dialogue and cooperation; jointly oppose confrontation, and “New Cold War”. He introduced the current situation of China’s overall pandemic prevention and control, and economic and social development, stressing that China is continuing to gain significant results in pandemic prevention and control, and the fundamentals of China’s economy have not changed in the long run. He said that China and Scotland have maintained long-term good relations and close economic and trade ties over the past 50 years. We appreciate the Scottish government’s continuous formulation of various cooperation strategies with China and its joint efforts with China to expand practical cooperation and friendly exchanges in various fields. Many Scottish products are sold well in China and Chinese investors are very active in Scotland. The China-Scotland cooperation has great potential in the fields of green and low-carbon development, green transportation, renewable energy, smart cities, and digital economy, and has broad prospects in financial services, education, sports, and cultural tourism. At present, China has gradually adjusted its entry and exit policies in the face of the pandemic, simplifying the visa procedures and formalities. It is believed that business visits between China and Scotland will become more convenient. The Chinese Embassy will, as always, support the expansion of two-way trade and investment, educational and cultural cooperation, and personnel exchanges between the two places, and provide support and services for economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.
Figure 3: Speech by Graeme White, Global Head of Inward Investment, Strategy and New Investment at Scottish Development International
Global Head of Inward Investment, Strategy and New Investment at Scottish Development International, said that Scotland’s new export trade programme will aim to develop new international trade ties and as a result. This is an even stronger focus on China as a priority market. In recent years, many leading Chinese and Scottish companies have performed well in investing in high technology and renewable energy, etc. Scotland is a progressive, inclusive and sustainable region and towards a more sustainable and inclusive future. SDI expects more Chinese companies to choose Scotland and work together to achieve net zero emissions. SDI will work with leading international companies, collaborative partnership, co-developing sustainable business models and support to Chinese investors before, during and after they invest in Scotland.
Figure 4: Speech by FANG Wenjian, Chairman of CCCUK and General Manager, Bank of China London Branch
In his speech, FANG Wenjian, Chairman of CCCUK and General Manager, Bank of China London Branch , said that Chinese enterprises are actively contributing to Scotland’s economy and employment. At present, there are 14 Chinese companies with an annual turnover exceeding 5 million pounds in Scotland. For the purpose of low-carbon transformation, Chinese enterprises are taking concrete measures and actively cooperating with the local authorities, and have achieved fruitful results in terms of net zero emissions, wind power generation, electric buses, etc.; in addition, China’s investment in Scotland is gradually moving from traditional areas, such as finance, energy, and manufacturing to diverse sectors, such as renewable energy, food and beverage, cultural, creativity, science and technology, tourism, education and other fields. In addition to business development, the Chinese enterprises have been actively involved in the fulfilment of their social responsibilities, charitable projects, and welfare improvement of local communities. As a bridge of economic and trade cooperation between China and the UK, the CCCUK will continue to provide strong support for Chinese enterprises to invest and operate in Scotland.
Figure 5: Speech by Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Chair of the China-Britain Business Council and Group Head of Public Affairs, HSBC Holdings plc
Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, Chair of CBBC and Group Head of Public Affairs, HSBC Holdings plc, expressed his gratitude to the CCCUK and CBBC for jointly organising this event. He stressed that Scotland is a rational region with a good governance environment and maintains close economic ties with China. Scotland’s trade with China is continuously expanding. The trade exports scope, in addition to goods such as oil and whiskey, also include services such as financial services and education. Since 1996, Scotland’s total exports of goods to China have grown by more than 1,000% to 1 billion pounds each year. Last quarter, there was also a significant increase in trade in construction equipment and consumer goods. China and Scotland have established solid economic and trade ties. CBBC will continue to maintain close cooperation withthe Chinese Embassy and the CCCUK to jointly safeguard the important friendship between Scotland and China.
During the discussion activities, the representatives from Chinese enterprises and local enterprises actively communicated the cooperation opportunities, cooperation models, and cooperation contents of the two sides in Scotland in the future.
Many guests delivered a speech respectively, including Zhang Hongyan, Executive Deputy General Manager of PetroChina International (London) Co., Ltd., Pan Haiyang, Director of Industry and Public Affairs ofHuawei Technologies (UK) Co., Ltd, Shi Weifei, CFO of Red Rock Power Limited, Zhu Danlu, Managing Director Sinopec UK, as well as Jin Rui, Acting CEO, COO of Haitong International(UK) Ltd. They introduced the operation and development status, important achievements, challenges and future investment development strategies of their respective enterprises in Scotland, and made suggestions for economic and trade exchanges and cooperation.
As the representatives from local Chinese-funded enterprises, PetroChina International (London) Co., Ltd., which had only three employees at the beginning of its establishment, has now become one of the largest crude oil trading companies in the United Kingdom over 20 years of development. As a market leader in crude oil products and natural gas products, the company reported a total trade amount of more than 170 million pounds and a revenue of 1.6 billion pounds in 2021; Huawei Technologies (UK) Co. Ltd. established its research and development centre in Edinburgh in 2018. It currently employs 108 people and 80% of them hold doctorates, indirectly creating 1,600 jobs in Scotland. Apart from scientific research, the company is also carrying out diversified social programs to provide funding and technical support for Scottish local students studying in China, local SMEs, and the University of Edinburgh Racing Team; Red Rock Power Limited’s current investments include four wind farm projects in Scotland and one wind farm project in Sweden, three of which are operating to supply power for more than 500,000 households in Scotland. In the future, Red Rock Power will continue to support a wider range of industries and supply chains, promote innovation and development, and give priority to factors such as health and safety in investment; Sinopec UK said Repsol Sinopec Resources UK (RSRUK) is one of the largest oil producers in Aberdeen, Scotland, with more than 10 years of oil production experience in the UK and interests in 48 oil fields. The company is committed to energy transformation, low carbon and sustainable development, aiming to become the world’s leading clean energy and chemical company; Haitong International (UK) Ltd. issues the world’s first high-yield corporate ESG bond ETF in Asia (excluding Japan) in cooperation with Tabula Investment Management Limited, a UK asset management limited and ETF supplier. As of the end of 2021, the asset under management of the ETF had exceeded US$ 200 million, with an increase of more than 700%. The company will continue to focus on expanding the UK team, actively seek cooperation opportunities, and strengthen business activities in the UK.
As the representatives of local British enterprises, Tim Garratt, the partner of Baillie Gifford, Su Cox, Communications and Business Development Director, the Scottish Salmon Company, Scott Davidson, Director of Glencairn Crystal, and ZHI Shengke, Director of Growth and Development, Wood Plc introduced the business operation, development results, investment strategies and cooperation opportunities of their respective enterprises in China.
Baillie Gifford has been active in the Chinese market since 1995, investing nearly 30 billion pounds in Chinese companies and 2.5 billion pounds on behalf of its Chinese clients. The company aims to promote two-way capital flows, strengthen cooperation and mutual understanding between the UK and China, and address the global challenges confronting the two countries through enhanced cooperation and cultural mutual trust; the Scottish Salmon Company operates across the industry’s full value chain and is committed to environmental, cultural and economic cohesion and sustainability. The company’s core strategy is to develop an innovative Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) that will better monitor the environment in which salmon are grown, ensure product quality and increase yields. At present, it has formulated a five-year plan to develop into a sustainable salmon producer by expanding and optimizing its business. Founded in 1981, Glencairn Crystal is a leading manufacturer of high-end crystal containers for the beverage industry, employing over 70 people and operating in 150 countries worldwide, and has won the Queen’s Award for Innovation for several years. The company has positioned China as a key market for future business development and plans to introduce more of its products to Chinese customers; Wood Plc is a British energy, building environment consultancy and engineering solution company with a long history, employing over 40,000 people and operating in 60 countries. The company has a strong commitment to the Chinese market, with a focus on decarbonising digital transformation and a desire to be a trusted partner for Chinese outbound investment and supply chain collaboration.
Figure 6: Forum Discussion and Communication
The forum ended successfully in a warm atmosphere. Many participants said that China and Scotland have broad prospects for economic and trade development. The two sides should play our roles , promote pragmatic cooperation between companies, and jointly explore more business opportunities to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results for the benefit of the people of both places.
Figure 7: Group Photo of Participants