With over 130 invited delegates, 35 speakers and companies of all sizes represented, the inaugural Cambridge China Forum 2018 was a huge success. Organised by Cambridge China Centre, a targeted membership organisation based in Cambridge, the event was crafted to help members and delegates drive business relationships forward, and with 45% speakers representing China and 55% the UK, Cambridge China Forum 2018 was the first of its kind.

The event took place at the Cambridge Guildhall and Queens’ College on the 20th November, and included a diverse and inspirational group of expert speakers from industry, research and government representatives, including Alan Hirzel – Abcam, Dr Stephen Pattison – ARM, Yunming Shao – TusPark, Humayun Sheikh – Fetch.ai, Ray Anderson – Bango, Ting Zhang – Crayfish.io, Martin Rigby – ET Capital, Dr Steve Marsh – GeoSpock, Ian Sandison – Cambridge BID, Professor Chris Lowe – the University of Cambridge, Dr Simon Haworth – The Sino-UK Fund, Sunan Jiang – Minister Counsellor for Science and Technology Chinese Embassy, Simone Warren – Alibaba Cloud, Dr Anna Cupani – Imperial College London, and Dr Derek Long – Cambridge Consultants.

The UK is at a pivotal point in its history, turning its attention to the global stage, and in doing so is looking to China with great potential. According to China Daily, Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) into the United Kingdom more than doubled in one year – from $9.2 billion in 2016 to $20.8 billion in 2017 – despite uncertainty surrounding Britain’s pending exit from the European Union. The figures, put together by law firm Baker McKenzie and research consultancy Rhodium Group, also show that China’s FDI into the UK grew six-fold during the past four years – from $3.2 billion in 2013.

China has faced challenges in the fields of high-tech and international talent following decades of rapid economic growth. According to the World Economic Forum, China now accounts for one-third of global growth, with the Chinese government focusing on high-quality growth. Together, these figures mean that momentum is growing for increased UK|China business relationships and the Forum received great feedback from organisations keen to foster new productive connections and partnership working.

Stephen Pattison, VP of Public Affairs at ARM spoke about UK|China relationships, “You cannot be a credible high-tech company and not have thought about a China strategy”. Alan Hirzel CEO of quoted Cambridge life science business Abcam said the company saw China “as the greatest single opportunity for the life sciences market in our lifetimes.”

Delegates across the day spoke about the value of the event and the potential for their businesses to increase business with China.

The day closed with a Gala Dinner at Queens’ College Cambridge, where guests listened to a talk by Bo Ji, Assistant Dean of Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, who spoke about the rise of Chinese business and the many opportunities for UK|China collaboration.

Jinzhao Li, Managing Director of Cambridge China Centre spoke about Cambridge China Forum 2018 “We are very excited to see the fruit of the many collaborations and business relationships which developed across the day and will continue into the following years”.