On 15 October, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt. Hon George Osborne MP hosted a special reception in Beijing together with UK Ambassador to China, Sebastian Wood, to promote the UK’s creativity and innovation and to encourage Chinese creatives to experience what Britain has to offer.
The ‘Creativity is GREAT’ event brought together over 300 guests from the creative industries in China and the UK all to the backdrop of interactive showcases by UK creative companies.
The displays showed off the vast array of creative industries the UK has to offer, from art, to fashion to food and drink.
The architecture area included works by Beijing-based British artist Martin Barnes, whose work depict the evolving landscape of Beijing and images from Benoy’s prominent projects in Asia.
Also included in the architecture area was a new piece of work, the ‘Garden Bridge’ by Thomas Heatherwick, known in China for his award-winning design of the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010, and a new set of designs by Zaha Hadid Architects, showing the recent demand for UK firms to help design China’s modern skyline.
Fashion also had an important presence at the event, with displays and a roaming fashion show organised by UK-China e-commerce fashion site, AnyShopStyle.cn. The event featured collections from the next big names in Chinese designers with a strong UK link, having either studied in the UK or who now show at London Fashion Week.
And prominently exhibited were state-of-the art automobile design with the newest models by McLaren and Jaguar, hypnotising guests as they passed through the entrance area.
There was a warm welcome for all as guests were greeted by the waxwork of royal couple William & Kate – to mark the launch of Madame Tussauds in Beijing set to open in early 2014.
The event, sponsored by Benoy and Diageo, took place in Jing Yaa Tang, a newly-opened restaurant in one of Beijing’s most prestigious hotels, The Opposite House, owned by UK Hong Kong-based corporation, Swire Group.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP said:
I am delighted to be here showcasing the best of UK creative industries and discovering the best of the Chinese creative industries. Britain is a nation proud to combine a rich heritage with cutting-edge modern culture and this week I want Britain to see that China too has an exciting creative scene that is growing from strength to strength.
We already work together in areas such as fashion, architecture and tech but there is so much more we can do. I have spoken this week of the next big step I want to take in our relationship with China, and creative industries should be central to that.
The event was designed to highlight British creativity and what we have to offer to an increasingly knowledgeable and important audience, but the aim was also to encourage UK creative companies to build relationships with Chinese partners.
The event also marked a new VisitBritain and China Union Pay (CUP) agreement for a long-term strategic partnership, to increase the number of Chinese visitors to the UK and facilitate their spending whilst in the UK.
This new partnership is the first of its kind for CUP, both in size and in terms of working with a tourist board to promote a particular country. Given the scale of CUP’s dominance of the Chinese credit and debit card markets, and the size of its marketing database, this is a huge opportunity for Britain to gain a competitive edge.