A couple of years ago, I visited Jinan, the capital city of the Shandong province with Mr Wang, the Deputy Mayor. Shandong is famous for it’s fruit growing, heavy steel works & cotton production. We visited some of the regions leading factories in all these sectors. The thing that struck me most, was not the vast scale of the factories or there obvious drive to export, but the level of infrastructure that has been put in place to allow for growth in the future.Immaculate 6 lane highways, linked the industrial zones, but they were empty, ready and waiting for the inevitable growth that will come.
Last year, I was invited to Qufu city in Shandong. This is the birth place of Confucius and a very popular destination for visitors from all over China. We were feeling fit, so we climbed Mount Tai, the most revered mountain in Taoism and one of the worlds sites with the longest history of continuos religious worship. We spent the night on the peak and were up early to see the sunrise over China. It’s breath taking and freezing (-10C).
Having had a some small insight into the regions commercial and historic roles in China, I was keen to see how we could work more closely together. The Shandong region is on the eastern coast, a couple of hours by high speed train south of Beijing and north of Shanghai. It’s costal location in the more northern region of China mean that commerce is less well developed that in the south. With a population of over 100 million to provide for, it’s desire to develop the export market is clear to see.
So to be invited by the Director for The Dept of Foreign Trade to meet the leading manufactures to discuss how we can drive exports and help them prepare for EU & USA markets sounds rather exciting. We’re now discussing dates that won’t clash with the production build up ahead of the Chinese New Year on February, but will allow them time to be effective ahead of the 111 Canton Fair in April 2012.