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China Visit Revs Up Trade Prospects

Coventry firms are heading to China to save high-tech jobs – and are hoping that investment will come to the city in return.

High-tech firms that cannot expand any further in Britain are looking to the Chinese market to find new orders.

They have recently visited the province of Shandong to try and win new customers.

For the Coventry Centre For Investment, which organised the visit along with Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber, the chance to save jobs is as important as creating new ones.

Manufacturer Excellence officer Roger Hewitt said that if jobs are maintained then it preserves the city’s skill base and allows companies to survive.

One firm found the visit in June so promising that bosses have returned to China this week to follow up interest.

Mr Hewitt said high-quality, high-precision engineering firms using techniques unavailable in China were the ones that were hopeful of winning new trade.

He said:

“There are a lot of small companies in Coventry that are having problems because they don’t have the capital to expand. Coventry has a good reputation as a centre of excellence in high-precision industry, and this is what the Chinese want.

“Their industry has come on a great deal recently, and you can’t go out there and sell them anything. They are after quite specific things.”

Other work being done in Jinan, a city of 5 million which is twinned with Coventry, includes helping the giant Qingqi motorbike firm adapt its mopeds for a European market.

It is hoped that if the bikes are changed to meet European safety and environmental levels then production will start in this continent, with Coventry being among the front-runners to host a new assembly and distribution plant.

Mr Hewitt said it would take time to see this happen, but added:

“I’m very optimistic in ten years’ time it will start to happen the other way, and we will see some investment coming to Coventry.

”We are not guaranteed to get the factory, but the Chinese do business with people they know, and they have been working with people in Coventry for some time.”
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CWN / Business / A-Z / Coventry Centre for Investment / 10 Aug 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM