By Kate Madley

Swansea University and the Lakeside Group, a Swansea-based company with extensive experience of trading with China, have launched an initiative to develop trading partnerships between Wales and China.

The University predicts the number of Chinese students enrolling onto courses at the institution will double over the next five years, creating a clear route to market for Welsh firms.

The China Centre will build on the University’s existing network of Chinese students who are studying in Wales to develop their skills and access its internationally-renowned teaching.

Local businesses will be able to tap into the bespoke service offered by the Centre to grow trading opportunities.

“Swansea University is delighted to be supporting the launch of the China Centre,” said Gerry Ronan, Head of Commercialisation and Consultation at Swansea University. “At the University we make it a priority to share our expertise and knowledge to help develop the local economy.

“The network of existing Chinese students within the Swansea region provides a wealth of opportunities for local businesses to engage. We aim to support imports from and exports to the Chinese economy, but ultimately it is about developing relationships that will increase sales, reduce costs and improve profitability.

“We can also help solve technical problems, find strategic partners and advise on logistical issues. We believe that this will result in increasing employment in the Swansea region. “

The China Centre’s launch event this month saw local businesses come together with University academics to highlight the new opportunities for businesses within the region who were interested in trading with Chinese firms.

With high demand for British brands in China, the Centre is well placed to approach Chinese businesses who are interested in new products and services to meet this demand.

“The China Centre will provide businesses with an established network that exists because of Swansea University’s commitment to research and teaching and supporting our Chinese students,” said Ronan.

“There is a thriving Chinese community in Swansea and we hope that the new centre will allow the Swansea business community to benefit from this.”

A recent international trade survey commissioned by Wales Business Insider and Enterprise Europe Network Wales found that more Welsh firms chose China than any other country as the market they would most like to enter.

The China Centre offers businesses a comprehensive service, including product quality checks, transport to docks, shipment to any UK port, customs clearance at UK ports and transport to any UK address.

For further information about the services offered by the centre visit www.thechinacentre.net