Seven Nottingham businesses with growth potential are all packed and ready to travel to Hangzhou, China as part of a 5 day trade visit to the city to forge trade links and further strengthen Nottingham’s relationship with the region by attending the Hangzhou Cultural and Creative Industry Expo in Zhejiang province, China.

Supporting the delegation are representatives from Creative Quarter, Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham City Council.

Also part of the delegation are businesses and Universities from the Midlands Engine, a strategic partnership that aims to unite businesses and partners to accelerate economic growth in the region.

As well as attending the cultural fair, Nottingham businesses will have the opportunity to exhibit their products and services at the expo which attracts 400,000 business visitors and ranks as one of China’s top five industry events.

The trade mission, which is fully funded by the Zhejiang government, will be the first of many commercially focused creative and cultural exchanges between the Midlands and Zhejiang in the coming months.

Visits like these establish important communication and business foundations for local businesses to help them make connections more easily and explore innovative ways to partner with Chinese businesses and create trading links with China as part of ongoing creative and cultural collaborations between the Midlands and Zhejiang Province.

With a population larger than London, the historic city of Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang Province and is a key cultural hub in China and is home to some of China’s most influential businesses including retail giant Alibaba, China’s biggest online retailer, wholesaler and payment platform. The Hangzhou Cultural and Creative Industry Expo has been running for more than ten years and attracts significant international attention.

Nottingham City has strong links in China. This relationship stems from the University of Nottingham’s campus in Ningbo and the Nottingham-Ningbo sister city relationship (Ningbo is Zhejiang’s second largest city after Hangzhou). Further, Midlands Engine has established a strong partnership with Zhejiang Province, one of China’s largest and most wealthy regions.

Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth, said: “Nottingham’s links with China are well known but as well as sharing cultural and creative experiences it’s really important that businesses also play a part in this relationship.

“The whole city benefits from international trade and with creative businesses doing well in Nottingham, seeing them find new ways to trade more with China is good news for them and for jobs in the city.”

Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine said: “The Midlands Engine is delighted to work alongside Nottingham City Council to attend and support the Hangzhou Cultural and Creative Industry Expo.

“The Midlands Engine attendance at this important event is part of a wider strategy that the Midlands is developing with China. Our main purpose is to establish foundations for future world-class creative and cultural collaborations between the Midlands and Zhejiang.

“I have visited Hangzhou many times and will be visiting the Governor of Zhejiang in November where I hope to agree a five-year-plan. This strategy will shine a spotlight on business, culture, creativity and education and explore new innovative ways for our region to partner and develop world class products and services of the future.”

Stephen Barker, Chief Executive Creative Quarter Nottingham added; “It’s fabulous that Nottingham has a group of China-ready businesses going to the Hangzhou Cultural and Creative Industry Expo. I’m particularly delighted that so many of them are based in the Creative Quarter and at Sneinton Market.

“We all know that China is a massive and growing market. Breaking in to that market can be a life-changing experience for a business owner and it can mean more jobs created and wealth to be shared in Nottingham. That’s what this trade mission is all about.”