Liverpool’s £15m Sensor City project looks to set up sister site in China

Sensor City is a £15m joint project between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University based in the city’s Knowledge Quarter. Tony McDonough reports.

From left, Zhihua Feng, executive vice president of Zhengxin Group, Liverpool Vice Mayor Gary Millar and Dr Joanne Phoenix of Sensor City
From left, Zhihua Feng, executive vice president of Zhengxin Group, Liverpool Vice Mayor Gary Millar and Dr Joanne Phoenix of Sensor City

A major Liverpool project that is developing world-leading technology around the “internet of things” could open a sister site in China and help secure funding for Merseyside firms.

Sensor City is a £15m joint project between the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University based in the city’s Knowledge Quarter.

It is working on how web-connected sensors can be used in applications across business and industry.

Over the next few years it aims to inspire the launch of up to 300 businesses and create 1,000 jobs.

Now Sensor City has has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tianjin-based Zhengxin Group.

The deal, which is expected to be ratified early next year, would see a Chinese Sensor City established in Tianjin, which is in North East China close to the capital Beijing.

It would also see an investment fund established by the Zhengxin Group to support early stage companies based at Sensor City, and help to support Chinese student entrepreneurs studying in Liverpool to develop their idea for new sensor-related technologies and companies.

The sister Sensor City in China would also provide hands-on support to UK companies wanting to do business in China.

The deal is a consequence of contacts made between Sensor City and the Zhengxin Group during the International Festival for Business 2016, which took place in Liverpool in June this year.

Dr Joanne Phoenix, head of business development at Sensor City, said : “The signing of the MoU is the first step in what we hope will be a long-term partnership that will significantly enhance our international standing, adding a unique dimension to the enterprise eco-system which we are creating.

“It will help put Liverpool on the map as a globally important research and enterprise centre for this exciting and rapidly developing technology.”

The global sensor market is currently worth around £400bn and growing at over 10% each year.

Sensors play an important role in day-to-day life with increasing use in industry, safety and security, and in personal gadgets and devices.

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