Manchester businesses urged to get ‘China-ready’

Manchester businesses are being encouraged to get ‘China-ready’ following an event hosted by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) in partnership with, the leading service platform for all things related to the Chinese market.

The China Market Day seminar on September 20th offered local businesses the opportunity to explore the possibilities and practicalities of trading with China – but was also aimed at companies already actively doing business with China or looking to expand their export and import operations to and from China.

China is already the UK’s 6th largest trade partner for UK-China export and the UK’s 4th largest trade partner for imports, accounting for 3.6% of all UK exports and 7.0% of all UK imports. In 2017, UK exports to China were worth £22.3billion. As well as being one of the world’s richest economies, China is predicted to become the world’s largest luxury good market by 2020.

Speakers at the China Market Day event included social entrepreneur, Lord Nat Wei of Shoreditch, the first British-born person of Chinese origin to enter the House of Lords. Lord Wei – whose ‘Wei Report’ assessed how Manchester could do more with China and lead to the formation of the Manchester China Forum in 2013 – shared his vision for building a Global Britain.

Speaking at the event, he said: “Global Britain has a role as a bridge between the East and West and needs businesses to be a part of that infrastructure. I’m glad to see Crayfish and GMCC are joining forces to provide the support businesses needed to navigate the turbulence of today’s world, one in which well-positioned British companies will flourish.”

Clive Memmott, Chief Executive of the GMCC, who opened the event, added: “The Chamber is delighted to be working in partnership with for all things relating to the Chinese market.

“There are great opportunities for UK businesses in the huge Chinese market and this partnership will help Greater Manchester businesses take full advantage of them.

“ is the go-to platform for better engagement with China powered by technology. Whether you want to find trusted translators, consultants or other business professionals that have experience of the Chinese market – Crayfish’s innovative online platform allows you to source your own talent and team.”

Susana Cordoba, Head of International trade added the following statement: “The Chamber is proud to continue strengthening existing Manchester-China relationships. In 2018, the North West contributed 10% to the total UK export of goods to China and this made us the third largest UK regional exporter to China that year – evidently showing the North West’s appetite for business with China. We are hopeful that our partnership with will encourage SMEs and larger companies to expand their footprint in the Chinese market and consider China as a destination for export success.”

A Strategic Partnership agreement between the GMCC and was formally signed at the event which was attended by Consul General Zheng Xiyuan from the Chinese Consulate in Manchester. He praised the partnership which, he said, would “help Manchester’s trade with China thrive and grow”.

Manchester China Forum Executive Director, Rhys Whalley also spoke at the event. He said: “We are delighted to see GMCC formalise this partnership with Since the Manchester China Forum’s creation in 2013, the city-region has seen a transformation in its relationship with China, the result of adopting a long-term approach to building ties across a broad-spectrum of priority areas. At the heart of this has been a focus on improving connectivity between the two regions and strengthening commercial links. Today’s announcement demonstrates the important role that city-led initiatives have to play in helping to cultivate innovative approaches to trading with key partners such as China…” founder & CEO Ting Zhang introduced the story behind and illustrated how the online platform works.

She said: “We are delighted to be working with the Chamber as a Strategic Partner. Manchester has been playing an important role as a bridge for the North with China, and we hope that Crayfish’s innovative cross-border service platform will help local businesses to trade with China in a smarter and more efficient way. Even for a small player, it’s important to think big and have a China strategy in place, especially in light of Brexit and the emerging trade landscape.

“At Crayfish, we enable businesses to better engagement with China– such as developing the right business model and managing flexible talent acquisition through to understanding the culture and engaging with Chinese investors. These are especially timely for businesses to thrive in a changing world.”