NORTH-EAST firms are being encouraged to head east and explore its potential for export growth.

UK Trade & Investment has joined forces with the China-Britain Business Council to organise a Market Visit to Wuhan and Shanghai on May 17 to 24.

As China’s largest city in terms of population, Shanghai offers a wide range of opportunities while Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province, is a modern metropolis situated in the heart of China and considered to be one of the birthplaces of China’s modern industry.

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Dr Zhengming Yang, UKTI’s China business development manager, who will accompany the market visit, said:

“Wuhan is a commercial centre of finance, industry, trade and science with many international companies located there.

“It also boasts many scientific, technological and educational institutions such as Laser City and the Wuhan University so it is something of an intellectual centre.

“Wuhan’s location, at the heart of China, makes it a transportation hub for air, rail and ferry traffic and it boasts three national development zones, four scientific and technologic development parks, more than 350 research institutes and 1,470 hi-tech enterprises, so there are plenty of opportunities to do business.

“And by combining the more traditional industries such as car manufacturing with new hi-tech industries such as fibre-optics, electronics and pharmaceuticals, Wuhan is positioning itself as one of the most progressive business cities in Asia.”

The visit offers delegates the benefit of expert support from Dr Yang, both before and during the visit; help to identify new business opportunities and in-depth market research from UKTI’s commercial officers in China.

Delegates can also sign up for a Mandarin and cultural workshop on May 7 and a special pre-visit workshop on May 14, both to be held at The UKTI International Trade Centre, at RTC North, Hylton Park, Sunderland to help them prepare and ensure they can make the most of the visit.

The deadline to sign up to the Market Visit to Wuhan and Shanghai is March 31 and eligible companies could receive up to £750 towards the costs from UKTI.

To register your interest or to find out more about the visit and the wide range of support services available through UK Trade & Investment to help your company succeed overseas call the North East International Trade Hotline on 0845 05 05 054 or email: You can also follow us on Twitter at