Chinese Business Leaders in Belfast

Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor John Finucane has welcomed Madame Zhang Meifang, NI Chinese Consul General and a high profile delegation of Chinese business and media leaders to City Hall in his first international engagement.

Guests at City Hall yesterday evening included representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, the Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in London, the CCIC London Company Ltd which provides policy briefings to the Chinese government departments, the Jiangsu Economic and Trade Office in the UK, the travel industry and reporters from a range of Chinese broadcast outlets including China Daily, which has the widest print circulation of any English-language newspaper in China.

 

The Lord Mayor commented: “It’s a great honour for me to host Madame Zhang Meifang and our Chinese guests and to showcase the investment opportunities, tourism offer and the excellent quality of our educational offer here in Belfast.

“We’ve been developing links with China since the 1990s when we signed a Sister City agreement with Hefei. We also became a Sister City of Shenyang in 2016 and as a result, we’ve been establishing strong academic connections through the Confucius Institute, Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, and Belfast Metropolitan College – welcoming ever increasing numbers of Chinese students here to study with us.

“A key part of our Belfast Agenda centres on growing Belfast’s economy.  Our tourism industry is benefiting significantly from an influx of Chinese visitors and we’re keen to further develop trade opportunities. We’ve had a fantastic opportunity to shine the spotlight on our compelling visitor and investment propositions and to discover firsthand how we can help our colleagues do business, invest and visit here more easily.

“We’re also working towards participating in an Innovation mission to China later in 2019, led by the NI Executive Office and China Bureau, in partnership with Invest NI and regional councils, so this evening has given us excellent information and contacts to build on.”

Members of Belfast City Council were joined by colleagues from the Belfast Region City Deal partnership, Invest NI, Tourism NI, local government, academia and wider China stakeholders.

For more information on Belfast City Council’s international work, go to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/international


Belfast is Back in Business

The skyline of Belfast has changed radically ally over the last decade with new hotels, office blocks and many of her heritage buildings given a new lease of life. The city is home to hundreds of international companies alongside traditional firms. The city is constantly evolving and has so much going for it, with regards to business opportunities, talent, and support.

Here’s everything you need to know before doing business in Belfast.

Location

Belfast is the capital city of Northern Ireland and the second largest city on the island of Ireland after Dublin, which it is less than two hours from. It is just six hours from New York and one hour from London, making it ideally placed at the centre of global markets.

The city offers a unique location for businesses looking for a new base to set up in. It has great infrastructure, world-class telecommunication links (Belfast has the best availability of superfast broadband in the UK.), a highly educated workforce, a strong retail centre and, of course, a rich history and culture to enjoy when you aren't working.

Cost

Property costs in Northern Ireland compare very favourably with other regions in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Prime office rents are among the lowest in Western Europe.

Regarding salary costs, they are lower here than in the rest of the UK, and around 30 per cent lower than other European locations such as London and Paris.

Cost analysis show that overall, operating costs in Belfast are over 50% lower than London and 17% lower than Dublin.

Business Support

One major positive of doing business in Belfast are the brilliant organisations that offer business support. Invest NI support business development and attract inward investment, while helping to increase productivity and export levels. Invest NI help achieve business success through financial support, tailored guidance and information. Enterprise Northern Ireland, is another great business support initiative. Between them, they have worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs helping them set up their business in Northern Ireland, enabling them to grow and develop.

Transport

Whether you’re heading to work in the city or going to a meeting abroad, Belfast is quite transport friendly.

There are many bus services within the city that provide convenient access to residential parts of the city as well as a rail service that extends across Northern Ireland and into the Republic of Ireland. A typical bus journey within the city will cost you £1.90.

And, with it being a small city, getting around Belfast can often be done on foot.
George Best international airport is just outside the city and flies to several locations across the UK, including London, Manchester and Glasgow.

Workforce

Belfast is ranked in the top 10 local areas in the UK for productivity, and any company that sets up in Belfast will have an abundance of talent on their hands, as Belfast has two great universities- Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.
They have a combined student population of 45,000.

Queen’s is ranked in the top 1 per cent of universities worldwide and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities.
Ulster University was in the top 100 new universities in the world according to The Times Higher Education Supplement and is currently investing €323 million on a new state of the art 75,000 square meter city centre campus.
Belfast Metropolitan College is the largest provider of further and higher education and training in Northern Ireland and has strong links with local businesses across all sectors.

Networking

Networking is essential part of business, and thanks to Belfast Chamber of Trade Commerce, there’s lots of it. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce which runs the Business Consultancy Centre as a non-profit organization set up to promote and facilitate investment and trade between Northern Ireland and China.  We focus on delivering value by connecting the small and medium-sized enterprises with the Chinese market and creating opportunities for Northern Ireland companies.

We are committed to provide a range of professional services which include facilitating global trade by opening up new Chinese markets for Northern Ireland SMEs, offer SMEs the highest possible quality of service and business and financial consultation.

They organise events like speed networking, wine tasting evenings, business Awards, focus groups and business breakfasts/lunches with guest speakers.
These events keep members informed of the latest developments in the city and create opportunities to establish new contacts, strengthen existing relationships and generate new business in a relaxed environment.

It’s not all about work…

There are lots of things to do in this city when you’re not busy working.

Belfast’s interesting history has lead to it becoming a melting pot of cultures. Despite Belfast being a part of the UK, Irish culture is very evident within the city. Due to exciting job opportunities and impressive third level education programmes, Belfast has attracted people from all over the world in recent years. This has created a unique mix of cultures, foods and festivals.

Belfast is of course where the infamous Titanic was made, and the Titanic Quarter of the City contains the Titanic Museum, which is well worth a visit.

It also contains Titanic Studios, home to one of the world’s largest stage sets and the official home of the Game of Thrones production.

After having a look around the studios, you can take a tour bus and set off to see various locations where the series is filmed, including famous landmarks like Carrickfergus Castle.

The world famous Giant’s Causeway is also just over an hours drive from Belfast City centre.