15 October 2015 16:39

More than 60 businesses have established stronger links with China in the last two years through working with Lancaster University.

The university’s wide-ranging cross-campus support includes the £5.1 million Lancaster China Catalyst programme, guidance via the Lancaster Confucius Institute and a variety of Masters-level research projects with Chinese students.

The first UK university to establish links with China following the Cultural Revolution, and with more than 1,000 Chinese students and an increasing range of opportunities to support businesses interested in China, Lancaster University is at the fore-front of initiatives that help companies with their plans for China.

Support provided to businesses has included learning about Chinese culture and language, international research and development projects involving Chinese partners, academic expertise, supported trade trips to China, networking events, and marketing research projects to help business leaders understand that entering China can be a complex market for the outsider.

Stopford Energy and Environment is one of the many companies who has benefitted from these initiatives. The company has established research and development projects with Chinese partners through the Lancaster China Catalyst programme.

Their Director of Research and Environment, Dr Ben Herbert, said: “The support we have received from Lancaster University has been first class.

“There is no doubt that the association with the University does give you that extra credibility when going into meetings with potential Chinese partners.”

Lancaster University has specialist teams to provide assistance and signpost businesses to suitable opportunities.

Jennifer Peasnell, Company Projects Manager at Lancaster University Management School said: “We have so many opportunities for businesses, especially those who have an interest in China. Having an informal chat with one of our business support team members is the best place to start.”

UK exports to China were worth £15.7 billion in 2013 and the UK Government is aiming to increase it to £30 billion by 2020.

Professor Wei Shen, Director of Lancaster University Confucius Institute, said: “China offers huge business opportunities and the scale of this is reflected in China being the European Union’s second biggest trading partner. Although a great opportunity, it also represents challenges for businesses.”

Companies interested in finding out more about opportunities of establishing links with China through working with the university should speak to Jing Lu, Business Partnerships Manager, Vice-Chancellor’s Office 01524 510322  j.lu4@lancaster.ac.uk; Jennifer Peasnell, Company Projects Manager, Management School 01524 510718 j.peasnell@lancaster.ac.uk; or Colette Webb, Manager, Lancaster University Confucius Institute, 01524 510738 c.webb@lancaster.ac.uk