Mersey trade mission to Shanghai nets potential deals worth £139m

A 21-strong business delegation travelled to China in April this year, led by Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Gary Millar. Tony McDonough reports

A 21s-strong trade mission from Liverpool city region visited Shanghai 


A Liverpool city region trade delegation to Shanghai has yielded deals and investments worth more than £139m.

A 21-strong business delegation travelled to China in April, led by Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Gary Millar and organised by the city council, Invest Liverpool and the Liverpool China Partnership (LCP).

According to LCP, the delegation took part in 140 meetings resulting in one Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed and 45 potential deals created. Three organisations have since moved on to set up offices in Shanghai. The deals and agreement include:

  • Liverpool John Moores University has signed an MoU with the Shanghai University of Engineering Science to set up a joint research hub on smart sportswear.
  • Two major investment deals were secured by the Materials Innovation Factory (MIF), which is co-founded by the University of Liverpool and Unilever. One of the deals includes an investment of £500,000 to £1m into a mobile robot project. The other will support the R&D of a sulphur rich polymer material.
  • True Partnerships has successfully set up a company in Shanghai to continue their growth through the rest of China. 
  • Female-led start up UK-China Innovation Centre secured an education service contract with Shanghai Dragonboat Education in May.
  • Proton Partners International has set up agreements with three agents in Shanghai to attract Chinese patients. So far, five Chinese patients have signed up to join Proton Partners cancer treatment programme.  The company has also held subsequent meetings with potential investors to support its national and international growth aspirations.

Cllr Millar said: “April’s delegation to Shanghai was one of our most successful trade trips to date and provided a fantastic platform to showcase the Liverpool city region and facilitate those important introductions that allowed our delegates to take their next steps in seeking out new investment opportunities in China.

“This new data demonstrates the importance of seeking new partnerships, being explorers and more importantly creating jobs, new skills and relationships here in Liverpool and the City Region.”

During the mission, Liverpool was invited by the Shanghai government to be the Honorary Guest City for the 7th China (Shanghai) International Technology Fair. The city was provided with a free exhibition space in recognition of Liverpool and Shanghai’s 20th Anniversary of the Sister City status.

Another recent success of the relationship between Liverpool and China is an agreement between the University of Liverpool and the Chinese Scholar Council to host 30 PhD students from China for a five-year placement in Liverpool until 2024.

LCP estimates that the students will contribute approximately £8.6m to the local economy over the next five years, whilst bolstering research outcomes for the University of Liverpool.

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