Derbyshire has strengthened its relationship with the Far East following a visit to the county by delegates from China.
A delegation from Anhui Province led by Mr Wang Xin, director general of the Foreign Affairs Office of Anhui Provincial People’s Government, visited Derbyshire and signed a memorandum of understanding during a ceremony at Derbyshire County Council’s County Hall headquarters in Matlock.
The visit was proposed by the British Consulate-General in Shanghai to explore areas where Derbyshire could work together with Anhui Province in the future on trade, education, culture, tourism and skills as well as developing investment opportunities that can benefit both regions.
Among the visitors were representatives from Anhui provincial and municipal government, universities and Mr Li Yongsheng, the Consul General from the Chinese Embassy here in the UK.
Derbyshire was also represented by University of Derby, Marketing Peak District and Derbyshire and East Midlands Chamber.
The delegation also visited Chatsworth House – found to be the second most popular destination for Chinese visitors in a survey by Visit Britain – and representatives from Hefei and Anhui universities visited University of Derby’s Derby campus to discuss more detailed opportunities for educational links.
After welcoming the delegation, Councillor Dave Allen, cabinet member for health and communities said: “We’re delighted to forge twinning links with Anhui Province and welcomed the opportunity to show senior figures from the region what Derbyshire has to offer.
“Signing the memorandum of understanding shows the commitment from all parties to work even more closely to identify and make the most of opportunities in tourism, trade, culture and other areas.”
With a population of 68 million Anhui Province is fast growing and shares many economic and cultural characteristics with Derbyshire – particularly in relation to manufacturing and minerals production.
Hefei, its provincial capital, is now the largest home appliances production base in China and an important city for car manufacturing, home to the JAC Group – one of the top 10 Auto Makers in China.
The province is also China’s largest copper production base and home to Asia’s largest cement manufacturer.
China is rapidly becoming the world’s largest outbound tourism market.