'Massive opportunity' for Sheffield region at Chinese business conference

The New Era Square development in Sheffield
The New Era Square development in Sheffield
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A Chinese business conference taking place in Sheffield this year has been labelled a 'massive opportunity' for the city region.

More than 300 guests from business and government will attend the Horasis Global China Business Meeting when it comes to Sheffield on November 5 and 6.

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore signs an investment deal with Sichuan Guodong

Sheffield Council leader Julie Dore signs an investment deal with Sichuan Guodong

The meeting is designed to help senior decision makers from China and other countries to identify opportunities for economic development.

It will be held in Sheffield for the first time, which council and business leaders see as a major coup.

Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said: "Horasis signifies a massive opportunity for the region to show China that we are much more than World Snooker at The Crucible.

"Nobody can argue that the city and region has steadily grown interest from Chinese investors and done correctly, Horasis will really build on that."

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce executive director Richard Wright

Sheffield Chamber of Commerce executive director Richard Wright

Horasis is an independent think-tank, and delegates will investigate strategies that will shape the global economy and forge new approaches to pressing social, economic, and geopolitical challenges.

The theme of this year’s conference is China and the World Economic Outlook. Last year Sheffield Council signed a 60-year investment deal with Chinese firm Sichuang Guodong, and more Chinese money is pouring into the city through developments such as New Era Square.

Mr Wright said Horasis was helping promote the city region on the world stage. But he added: "Of course we must do much more than hold this event.

"It would be great if the region could have five or six ready-to-go investment opportunities some way down the drawing board so we can capture the moment and really deliver benefit to the people of the region.

"These cannot be projects that rely on grant funding but projects that show a good return.

"What is really attractive is that many Chinese investors take a much longer term view than many other funders so they are just the type of investor we need as we grow a long term, sustainable economy."

Sheffield Council's director of city growth Edward Highfield added: “We welcome the conference to the region and hope it’s a success.

"It’s very positive that it’s being held here in Sheffield, which allows us to showcase the great things about the city region as well as identifying opportunities for business and economic development.”

The Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership has invited anyone interested in finding out more to get in touch via sheffieldcityregion.org.uk.

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