Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, is visiting the Chinese cities of Beijing and Wuhan over coming days for a series of meetings with high-level Chinese officials.
With costs largely being met by the Chinese authorities, the visit will also help with Swansea’s drive to elevate its friendship agreement with Wuhan to sister city status.
While in China, Cllr Stewart will share a conceptual fly-through video with audiences from the Chinese governmental and business sectors as part of in-depth presentations about Swansea’s forthcoming regeneration. The fly-though video includes planned Swansea projects like the digital indoor arena and Kingsway’s transformation into an employment district.
In Beijing, Cllr Stewart will meet with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendships with Foreign Countries. In Wuhan, he will attend a planning exhibition and a forum on investment and trade, as well as visiting a major car manufacturing plant and a technological development zone.
A Swansea business directory has been translated into Mandarin for distribution to Chinese companies.
Cllr Stewart said: “Largely funded by Chinese authorities, this visit will help further build on strong links with China that the council and its partners have worked hard to develop over recent years.
“Post-Brexit, it’s important Swansea stays ahead of the curve to develop fruitful economic, trade and business partnerships with major Chinese cities because China is fast becoming the world’s premier economic superpower.
“By showing key decision-makers in China the exciting future Swansea has in store, it will help attract Chinese investment because major companies there will want to be part of an unfolding regeneration story that also includes the £1.3bn City Deal, with the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project – a world first – now with the UK Government for approval as well. Their potential investment is important because it will lead to even more jobs and opportunities for Swansea people, helping improve standards of living here.
“With a sister city relationship already in place with Nantong, we’re keen for our friendship agreement with Wuhan to be elevated to that status, too. This would lead to an even stronger partnership with Wuhan that can only benefit Swansea in coming years.”
While in Wuhan, Cllr Stewart will also learn about an initiative called ‘Belt and Road’ that involves Wuhan working closely alongside other nearby cities to co-operate on areas including engineering, trade, tourism, culture and education for their mutual benefit.
This, Cllr Stewart says, is similar to the Swansea Bay City Region, so he’ll be keen to learn from examples of best practice.
Cllr Philip Downing, Lord Mayor of Swansea, will also visit Nantong from Monday to Friday, to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of Swansea’s sister relationship with the city. The visit, at the request of Nantong officials, will again be largely funded by the Chinese authorities.