Vice chair of Zhuhai Zhu Qingqiao pictured with the Leader of Portsmouth City Council and the Portsmouth delegation
Representatives from Portsmouth, led by Portsmouth City Council, have recently been on an inaugural trade mission to China.
The group was led by Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, and included Mark Catlin, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Football Club along with Anna Mitchell, Commercial Director; Bobby Mehta, from the University of Portsmouth; Steve Williams, from Portsmouth's Commercial Port, and Mark Pembleton from Portsmouth City Council. The trip was organised and facilitated by Albert Choi, Chair of the Chinese Association in Portsmouth.
The group visited two cities in southern China which have friendship links with Portsmouth. In Zhuhai, a city of around two million people which has recently been linked to Hong Kong by a bridge across the harbour, representatives from Portsmouth Football Club were able to investigate links to grow their fan base, but also how to work closer with football clubs in the city. The group also visited Zhuhai Polytechnic to look at building closer links so that courses can be completed partly in Portsmouth and partly in Zhuhai. The delegation met the Vice Mayor of Zhuhai (pictured) and also looked at the Port facilities.
In Zhanjiang, a city of around eight million residents and a naval base for the Chinese Navy, the group were involved in the China Maritime Economy Expo, but also met colleagues from the local universities and other local companies.
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: "This is the first time the City Council has led a trade mission to build economic ties between cities in China with whom we have friendship links in Portsmouth. We were able to build significant links for the university and the football club and I hope that we will see more links develop in the future to create jobs here in Portsmouth and to encourage investment here in the city."
Mark Catlin, Chief Executive of Portsmouth Football Club, said: "It was an enormous privilege and honour to be invited by the Leader of Portsmouth City Council to go to China and represent the football club and the city.
As a club we wear the city's crest with pride, so to be able to go to the Far East and represent the city in such a way was an amazing opportunity and experience."
Bobby Mehta, Director of UoP Global, said: "It was a great pleasure for the University of Portsmouth to join Portsmouth City Council and the Chinese Association of Portsmouth on the recent mission to promote the City of Portsmouth in Macau and China.
The visit assisted the University to establish further strategic relationships particularly in Zhuhai which will result in opportunities for student mobility, academic exchange and possible research partnerships in the near future."
Albert Choi said: "The trip went very well. We have a few things to follow up now that we are back and I am looking forward to exploring some of the potential opportunities further."