Tuesday 27 November 2007

Visit by Zhuji City, China delegation to EEI

Zhuji City in Zhejiang Province ranks 24th in China's 6000 cities and it was therefore a privilege to join a visiting delegation from Zhuji at the East of England International offices in Cambridge.

top- Richard Wishart, Delivery Management, Robert Edge & Joan Zhou EEI

Situated 2.5h from Shanhei and Ningpo, Zhuji & Zhejiang are interested in expanding their business ventures abroad, building on current £2bn exports worldwide (£250m UK). With 6 companies listed on international Stock exchanges the region is pushing to add at least 15 more over the next five years.

Whilst the region may not be familiar to the man on the street, its products are, with 75% of freshwater pearls originating in the region. Current freshwater pearls are a leap in quality for jewellry, especially as in contrast to seawater pearls which are often seeded with a bead, freshwater pearls are pearl through and through! On a more prosaic but relevant note for the current cold winter weather, there is a 35% chance that you will be wearing socks produced in Zhejiang!

The main interest for the delegation was logistics - in particular accessibility via Britains ports. Robert Edge of EEI briefed the delegation at the meeting, facilitated by Joan Zhou also of EEI.

More photos on Milton Contact's Picasa Album site

With more than 50% of port traffic at Felixstowe coming from China and the concommittent increase in ship size, the port is planning expansion to the south for deep water container quays to secure its postion as one of Europe's major hubs. A current alternative with large warehousing capacity is the London Gateway Port.

Collaborative networker and colleague Richard Wishart of Delivery Management delivered a practical introduction to his profitable one stop eCommerce solution for entry into European markets, presenting the visiting delegation with slides and white paper in Chinese text. Milton Contact limited was involved in the writing of the white paper (English text, Chinese text) and provided the key graphic for the document, shown below.

The Chinese delegation comprised He Xiaomin, Executive Vice Mayor Zhuji City Government; Qi Jianping, Chairman, Honglei Group Company Co.,Ltd, Xu Xingxi, Chairman Zhaoshan New Star Group; Wang Ling, Chairman, Zhejiang Meibang Textile Co.,Ltd; Huang Feigang, General Manger, Dadongnan Package Co.,Ltd, Zhejiang: Chen Jindi, Chairman Xiongfeng Group Co.,Ltd.; Lily Zhao Vice Managing Director Managing Director, Touchroad International Group; Chen Jianhong, Vice Director, Zhuji City Aboard Trade and Economic Cooperation; He Lijiong, Director Zhuji City State Taxuation Bureau.

Saturday 10 November 2007

Photographs in Bourn St Helena & St Mary's Church

Having just attended a business breakfast talk by Professor Alan Barrell at Bourn Hall Clinic (see earlier blog), I was joined by Richard Wishart of Delivery Management and Mike Feinson of Mulberry House Consultancy as the Autumn sunlight shone on the twisted spire of Bourn's Church of St Helena and St Mary, luring us for a closer look.

We arrived to find the annual Christmas sale on in the Church and a friendly community who welcomed us in! Although an atheist, I love wandering around churches as they are the result of a communities original desires and activities which imbues each with its own atmosphere.

I was delighted by the 1897 beir parked in a hidden corner and we were intrigued by the meaning of a wooden panel, showing a wounded bound woman.

A lead panel on the purported to contain the arms of John Ferrar (1620) but it was difficult to see, so I photographed it with an oblique flash and subsequent editing revealed a whole set of arms and inscriptions.

We refreshed ourselves with tea and cake before setting off again to themore mundane realities of our work.

You can see a selection of photos in my St Helena & St Marys online album and more information on its history is available on the Bourn Village Website History page
Other online photographic church tours include Horningsea and Hohenkirchen

The Dragon, the Elephant and us

I arrived on a round about route at the Bourn Hall Clinic set deep in the heart of the Cambridgeshire coutryside, on a chill morning with a deep blue sky.

Around 20 Cambridgeshire businessmen and women and the local Members of Parliament, Andrew Lansley and Jim Paice, met in the sunlit boardroom of the Hall, set in a gentle landscape that had continuously occupied the site since the first wooden castle erected there in Norman times (http://www.bourn.org.uk/history.htm).

An excellent and welcome breakfast relaxed us sufficiently to enjoy the talk by Professor Alan Barrell, FRSA and Holder of the Queen’s award for Enterprise Promotion, on the rise of the Chinese Dragon and the Indian Elephant economies. We were reminded that here were two giants that had been slumbering for a past century and were now arising to take their place at the forefront of world economies.

European businesses might still view both mainly as manufacturing sources but these two nations were beginning to flex their R&D and innovation muscle; Highly vibrant, entrepreneurial and significant in their impact on the global economy, their dynamism sent out a wake-up call to the UK and EU – we need to adapt to the new realities or be sidelined.

The talk was entertaining and informative – with quotes from Napoleon to Ghandi – and he adapted to the audience which included Thak Patel of Think India and Joan Zhou of EEI.

Networking continued after the talk itself and you can see the best pictures in my album for the event “SCGB 091107 Bourn Clinic”.

The event was organised by Jan Mughan of the Southern Cambridgeshire Business Group with assistance from myself both as Huntingdonshire Business Network’s Mailing and Marketing Manager and through my international contacts list.

Chris re-elected as HBN's Mailing and Marketing Manager

I was delighted to be elected onto the 2007/08 committee of the Huntingdonshire Business Network, as the Mailing and Marketing Manager. In the previous months since taking over from Steve Sheddon of Ivory Graphics, I'd been able to further develop professional mailings to members and a wider audience on the xciting seminars and events that we had had (you can see some of the graphics designed for this on the HBN-Events album.

Our members Photo competition for the HBN 2008 calendar resulted in over 100 pictures from which we now have to make a selction of the 14 to actually use!

We have a dynamic new committee and I'll be striving to ensure that we use 21st Century technology to keep members informed and spread the news on the friendliest business network in the area!

German NRW companies forge links with UK companies at the Interbuild

On a sunny October morning, nearly all the participants and organisers of the Association of Contractors of Duesseldorf, Mission to Birmingham met in a room immediately adjacent to the entrance to Hall 5 of the NEC Interbuild 2007. We’d come for the planned B2B meetings organised by Mark Dodsworth (Europartnerships) and his colleagues which included my company (Milton Contact Ltd), Sylvia Schmidt’s Come Across (Berlin) and Carolina’s Enlink.

We had spent the previous evening on a walk through the regenerated city centre by the canal and enjoyed a visit to two pubs for a relaxing get together.

It was great to link faces with the names from the brochure I’d designed for the event and voices over the phone, for whom we were arranging UK contacts.

Once the first UK meeting partners arrived, the day took off in a sequence of meetings, excursions and forays into the Interbuild itself. We were all flexible in adapting to those last minute changes in timings as some arrived early, some not at all and other arrived who we had not expected!

My personal role had been to support the company Künzel (Künzel Bauunternehmen GmbH & Co KG), specialising in trenchless technologies, for whom I’d arranged contacts. However, they came in a four man strong team with an English colleague and were fine on their own. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to find out that they had hit a bulls eye with at least one of the UK partners I’d arranged for them.

I therefore teamed up with Thomas Willmes, Owner Manager of Bedachungstechnik Thomas Willmes GmbH, a company specialising in roof technologies. Our experience in the nuances and pertinent market areas to pursue increased from meeting to meeting so that we had a range of UK partners for him to pursue in the future. Our forays into the interbuild exhibition allowed us to gauge both the competition and establish which local suppliers of key components for any future work were already present in the UK.

In between, I snatched every opportunity to practice my photography as a record of the visit and you can find the best of the selection in the Album BGV NRW Mission to Birmingham.

Unfortunately, I had to leave at the end of the day to catch my train back to Cambridge and miss the opportunity for a final get together in a restaurant. However, I left with the abiding impression, that our colleagues from Germany had gained happy memories and practical information on the opportunities for their companies in the UK market!