A mix of businesses from across Lincolnshire have taken a trip to China’s Hunan province – the county’s sister region – as part of a delegation to encourage trade overseas.
Representatives from local government, business and education arrived in the thriving city of Changsha on the evening of Tuesday 12th November and will stay until Friday 15th.
The three-day trip, organised by Lincolnshire County Council and the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub, aims to encourage collaboration between the two regions, as well as bring modern Agri-Tech to the province.
The delegation includes well-known Lincolnshire businesses Siemens, Dynex, Hemswell Antiques, Crop Intellect, Pygott and Crone and Lincoln City FC. Education providers also visiting Hunan as part of the delegation include the University of Lincoln, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln Minster School and the Lincolnshire Music Service.
The trip has been made possible thanks to funding support from the Foreign Commonwealth Office Global Britain Fund, along with support to the business delegates from the Department for International Trade.
Historically, the Hunan province has been best known as a hive for Chinese agriculture, industry and manufacturing – in particular, the creation of heavy-duty vehicles. However, these industries in Hunan now need to modernise, which provides Lincolnshire with huge opportunities for collaboration.
Lincolnshire County Council has spent the last few years building relationships and trade links with officials from the Hunan Government, and by taking part in this voyage, local experts and businesses have the chance to network with key stakeholders, meet with relevant buyers, undertake business tours, and develop business opportunities within the Hunan-Lincolnshire priority projects of agriculture, advanced manufacturing and education.
The delegation will also visit one of Changsha’s largest and most successful Economic Zones – the Wangcheng district – which focuses on hi-tech food production. Meetings will be taking place to discuss the development of a sister zone arrangement with Holbeach Food Enterprise Zone in south Lincolnshire. It is hoped the arrangement will result in coworking on ground-breaking agri-food projects, as well as the potential for inward investment into the region.
Along with giving the delegation a chance to take in Changsha’s cultural and economic sights, the trip has also allowed Lincolnshire the opportunity to showcase its heritage, tourism and the unique range of goods produced across the county. Beloved businesses that have donated to the delegation include Skegness-based Hames Chocolates, The Lincoln Tea and Coffee Company, and the award-winning Bottomley Distillers, who have sent across their premium Pin Gin.
Samantha Harrison, Head of the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub, says: “Despite seeming a world apart, there are many similarities between Lincolnshire and Hunan. There is huge potential for Lincolnshire businesses in the region, but also for Chinese investors to invest in our county.
“This delegation further strengthens what is already a good relationship and aims to open up exciting new opportunities to local businesses who may not have considered trading with China before.”