The fourth annual Northern Powerhouse Export Awards concluded on 7 February with resounding success. China was especially highlighted as a thriving market for current and potential exporting prosperity for Northern businesses.
ACOLINK had the honour of arranging the attendance of distinguished guests who resolutely facilitate trade and export connections between China and the UK.
This year ACOLINK accompanied Counsellor Zhang Bin, First Secretary Zheng Jiang, and Third Secretary Zeng Yuanghong of the Economic and Commercial office of the Chinese Embassy in London for the evening’s festivities.
Counsellor Zhang addressed the attendees early on in the evening to introduce Chinese market developments and opportunities.
While DIT Minister of State Baroness Rona Fairhead, BE Group CEO Nicki Clark, and PD Ports CEO Frans Calje spoke on export, success, and business after Brexit.
PD Ports and BQ (BE Group) jointly organised awards, this year hosted in York’s enchanting National Railway Museum.
ACOLINK and Let’s Do China were proud partners of the event, alongside Rahman Ravelli, Magnum Packaging, and Ithaca Films. The awards were also sponsored by HSBC, DIT, the Manchester Growth Company, and Chamber International.
This year saw the highest number of entries yet. More than 140 dynamic, entrepreneurial firms, across a range of sectors and export journeys, entered nominations and 45 were shortlisted.
Counsellor Zhang inaugurated the start of the award announcements with a light-hearted speech that resonated with his audience. Proud to be at the Northern Powerhouse awards, he revealed that he too was a true Northerner – of China, that is. He also touched upon how China has strengthened ties and opened up for international collaboration, particularly with the UK.
“In recent years, the north of England has maintained a strong economic momentum,” he explained. “The biggest export market (for Northern businesses) is Europe, followed by Asia, especially China. I notice on each table, there’s a very special tag that says ’Let’s Do China’. It’s a very good initiative. There is no doubt that China is becoming one of the world’s most growing and attractive export markets.”
Through the award’s live stream, guests not only thanked and appreciated the Counsellor’s speech but also wished him a Happy Chinese New Year.
China’s present and evolving market opportunities were recurring themes throughout the night.
NHS Northumbria International Alliance, category winners of the New to Export award, highlighted their work in China to help build a medi-city in Chongqing.
Kendal Nutricare, Brandon Medical, Levity Crops Science and Ossila LTD are a few of the shortlisted companies who are either actively trading or exploring options to grow their export potential in the Chinese market.
During her keynote address, Baroness Fairhead spoke through the difficulties and the rewards of exporting. She touched base on China’s market opportunities and also explained, “We [the DIT] know we’re a great exporting country, but we think there’s more to go.”
DIT aims to get 35% of UK businesses exporting. Baroness Fairhead reports that there are 400,000 UK businesses with the potential to export, but are not. The Northern Powerhouse Export Awards is a celebration of businesses that are finding success and growth through export, and a beacon of inspiration for prospective exporters.
This year, China is set to surpass the US to become the largest retail market in the world. The CIIE and the Belt and Road initiative are designed to be gateways to get businesses exporting.
The Northern Powerhouse Export Awards brought together innovative, excelling businesses who are making waves in the export sector. It also unveiled the opportunities China has to offer to fresh, entrepreneurial firms with a desire for growth.
Let’s Do China was highlighted by Counsellor Zhang, during his speech, as an initiative that is proactively aiding export appetite for a high growth market.
Heading into its fourth decade of the Opening Up and Reform policy, China’s market is quickly advancing to become an exporter-friendly hub of international collaboration.
ACOLINK’s Let’s Do China initiative is designed to provide businesses with the tools, support and knowledge to grow quickly in the Chinese market. The recently announced workshops and events for 2019 can be found on LetsDoChina.org.