London Week at the Shanghai Expo

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This week at the Shanghai Expo was London Week, and so I was there in person to promote London as the best city in the world to visit, invest, study and do business. The message that I have been trying to get across is that London is emerging from the economic downturn of the past two years in a very strong and competitive position, whilst trying to show Chinese investors the opportunities that are here for them in London.

I met with Al Baojun, the Vice Mayor of Shanghai, to discuss the economic and environmental challenges facing both our cities, which are both major cultural and economic centres.  This was also a valuable opportunity to share our experiences of hosting major events, the World Expo and the 2012 Olympics respectively, and to discuss the lessons which London can learn from China ahead of the Olympic games.

Shanghai is an important economic partner of London, and we are hoping to forge ever closer links in the financial and creative sectors and drum up business opportunities for London companies. We are also showcasing London as a culturally rich tourist destination, a world leader in education, and a centre of technical expertise.

In addition to this, London Week was an excellent opportunity to document London’s emergence as a low carbon capital with a commitment to making the city more sustainable. I have also been actively promoting the green sector in London by showing the benefits of working with London companies at networking events and business receptions.

Think London, the official agency responsible for foreign investment in London, have partnered with KPMG and British Airways to hold a series of conferences in which they have discussed with Chinese companies why it is they invest in the UK and to examine the relationship between the two cities more closely. As China is already the second biggest investor in London, it is crucial that we take this chance to learn as much as possible about how best we can improve this relationship in the future.

It is vitally important that we get our message across and show Chinese companies the multitude of opportunities for investment in London, which is rapidly emerging as a global city with a commitment to leading the way towards a low carbon economy in the UK and abroad. We must build on the strong ties which we already have with Shanghai in the financial sector by expanding it to the creative and green sectors. The Shanghai Expo provided an important opportunity to examine the links we have with Shanghai and to help promote investment in the capital by showcasing the benefits of doing business in London.

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