By Kate Madley

A delegation of Welsh businesses and higher education representatives will join the Welsh Government trade mission to Chongqing, China this week (2-8 March).

The visit coincides with the seventh annual Wales Week, aimed to introduce the culture and history of Wales to Chongqing people, which will to be of benefit to those attending the mission.

“There is an extensive and very active relationship between Wales and Chongqing,” said Business Minister, Edwina Hart.

“Wales now has an extremely high profile in the region which will undoubtedly help open doors and benefit organisations wishing to maximise opportunities in the region.

“I am pleased to see that a number of organisations on this mission are already working with partners in China, some of which plan to launch new services and products,  while others are looking to  break into this market.

“Our main office in China is also based in Chongqing where bilingual staff are available to assist Welsh companies and organisations develop business links in the area.”

Higher education institutions participating are Cardiff Metropolitan, Glyndwr University, Swansea Metropolitan University and Swansea University, as well as China HE Training Consortium – which brings together all ten Welsh universities to deliver bespoke training programmes to Chinese organisations.

Professor Andrea Liggins, Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design at Swansea Metropolitan, said: “The University has already begun to establish links with one particular Chinese organisation in the fields of art, design and media, and this trade mission is a valuable way of cementing the relationship. We are collaborating with other Welsh universities to deliver educational programmes, commercial opportunities and to engage in research development.

“Travelling as part of a wider trade mission gives us a higher profile and allows us to make a bigger impact. We are grateful to the Welsh Government for presenting us with this opportunity.”

A range of businesses and consultancies will join the higher education representatives. These include Kaimai Research Ltd from Swansea, PDR – the National Centre for Product Design and Development Research in Cardiff, Powell Dobson Urbanists in Cardiff, Llanelli-based Weldwide Solutions, Wood & Wood Design Consultants of Newport, and Inspiration Ltd from Gorseinon, Swansea.

Chongqing, regarded as the gateway to western China, is a rapidly expanding metropolis and home to 31million people. It is one of the commercial centres of interior China, where more than 5000 foreign companies are located.

Events during Wales Week 2013 include the opening of the National Museum Wales’s exhibition in the China Three Gorges Museum in Chongqing by Huw Lewis, Minister for Housing, Regeneration and Heritage, a St David’s Day gala reception, as well as networking and promotional opportunities.