Portsmouth politicians travel to China to woo businesses

DELEGATES flying to China on a trade tour are hoping to ensure Portsmouth is top of the list for firms considering bringing work to Britain.

Saturday, 29th October 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 31st October 2016, 9:55 am
From left, Portsmouth Chinese Association chairman Albert Choi, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr David Fuller and Cllr Lee Mason

Two councillors have set their sights on a luxury yacht firm in a bid to bring commercial boat-buildng back to the city.

Councillor David Fuller, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, is visiting the country with Cllr Lee Mason, and Albert Choi, Portsmouth Chinese Association chairman.

During the 11-day self-funded trip the trio will visit Zhuhai – home of boat-builder Sunway – then travel to the capital Beijing and also to Tianjin.

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Armed with a suitcase full of brochures and information about the city, they hope to win over Chinese firms.

‘We’re here, we’re open for business, we want to talk to people about us,’ Cllr Fuller told The News.

‘There’s lots of opportunities in Portsmouth and if this takes off, the investment that could come is excellent.’

Cllr Fuller added if the visit does not win over Sunway or other firms they visit then the trip will still ensure Chinese business is aware of the city.

According to a report in the South China Morning Post, the firm sold six yachts in 2014 and nine in 10 months last year.

Zhuhai and Portsmouth agreed a friendship link last year. The city is in southern China’s Guangdong province and borders Macau by land and Hong Kong by sea.

Cllr Lee Mason, cabinet member for resources at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘This is a great opportunity; we’ve got the skills here that are needed by the Chinese and they’ve got the infrastructure and the money.

‘It would be great to bring commercial boat-building back in the city.’

Cllr Mason believes Portsmouth has the skills that firms in the country need.

He added: ‘It’s a golden opportunity with Brexit to show that the world would be able to trade with us.

‘We’re getting in early so we’re at the front of the queue – our name does carry across the world.’

Some city firms already trade with the country, and Cllr Mason is hopeful more will do so, along with bringing Chinese companies to the area.

The delegation leaves tomorrow.

A TIGHT schedule will see the trio travel to Zhuhai for the 11th biannual airshow where the Red Arrows will perform in China for the first time in history.

British government and defence firm officials will be present but Portsmouth will be the only British city represented.

The visit comes after Hong Kong investment firm Fosun Group held talks with the council over investing in the city and Jin Xu, from the Chinese Embassy, visited the city.

Mr Choi added: ‘It’s special for us going over there because we’re representing Great Britain as well as Portsmouth.’