Auditorium with studio lighting with tiered seating facing a projector screen.


Building links between Leeds and China: The SME China Forum comes to Leeds for the first time

Conference Leeds are pleased to be welcoming the arrival of the SME China Forum, an annual event held by the China Britain Business Council, to the city later this year. Leeds College of Music will host the full-day event for between 150 and 200 delegates on 24th September, as the event moves into the city of Leeds for its 7th year – with previous events held in Heathrow, Bristol, Glasgow, Manchester and Wolverhampton.

The full-day event provides opportunities for member businesses in the UK to establish trading opportunities, best practice for market entry, discuss compliance and legals, all specifically in the Chinese market. Taking the format of a forum, the event will open with a plenary session and then move through to panel discussions. In these, delegates will see keynote speakers from SMEs who have successfully entered the Chinese market, such as Jack Peters, Business Development Director of the Alibaba Group, and Melanie Allan, Chief Commercial Officer for China at Silver Cross. These keynote speakers will discuss the consumer market in China, outline lessons that they have learned along the way, and discuss the impact this market has had on their bottom line.

After the panel sessions, the event will move to a presentation format on specific topics; such as IT security, Chinese banking, business development and other practical discussions. During the forum, there will also be the opportunity for delegates to receive one-to-one consultations and advice on the specific needs of the business in line with their exploration of the Chinese marketplace.

The China-Britain Business Council helps British and Chinese businesses and organisations work together in China, the UK and third markets around the world. Operating for over 60 years, their diverse, 1,000-strong membership includes some of the UK’s largest and most established companies, some of the UK’s most dynamic and innovative SMEs, as well as leading Chinese companies.

Alex Makino-Farrell, China Market Business Advisor for the China Britain Business Council, said: “We’re really looking forward to this year’s forum, in particular, due to some of the high calibre speakers that we have in attendance. We’re looking forward to meeting our members, many of which are from the Yorkshire region, later in September. Leeds as a location was the next on our list, as we’re rotating locations each year, as we recognised the city as a strong contender in the UK in terms of it being a UK business centre – and also due to the strong links the city has with China, which made it a perfect fit for the 2019 event!”

Claire Heap, Head of Conference Leeds, said: “Leeds has strong links with China thanks to its partnership with the city of Hangzhou, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2018. The partnership has been key to developing strong trade links between businesses and organisations from both cities and has helped create a number of long standing partnerships between several universities. As such, we’re really pleased to be welcoming the China Business Forum to Leeds for the first time this year, and know that Leeds College of Music is a perfect venue for a conference of this type due to the variety of spaces available at the venue. We are sure that the forum will be a success, and very informative for the businesses who are attending and looking to expand their business in the Chinese markets.”