Cabinet Minister without Portfolio Kenneth Clarke led a trade delegation to East China to promote the UK’s world-beating healthcare sector companies to the Chinese market.
The delegation was the largest-ever British health and social care delegation to visit China: 50 individuals from 38 British companies, universities and training hospitals forged new relationships and partnerships in order to take advantage of the vast expansion and modernisation of the Chinese healthcare system. The delegation was introduced to potential buyers with the aim of building concrete business relationships in the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, as well as Shanghai.
The Minister’s visit to East China came on the back of constructive visits to the Northern cities of Beijing and Tianjin.
The Deputy Consul General in Shanghai, Matthew Forbes said:
I am inspired to see so many British healthcare companies here in East China in pursuit of forging new relationships with Chinese partners
The UK and China face many similar challenges, including for example in tackling then problems associated with an ageing population
The Chinese healthcare market has been identified as a priority by the UK Government, and Mr Clarke has been leading the work to promote British interests there since March 2013. Over the course of the visit, he witnessed several agreement signings at government to government and business to business level.
Mr Clarke was also present at an introductory Taichi performance carried out by a local group of enthusiasts in Nanjing (pictured). In addition he made a side visit to a Community Healthcare Centre in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province that fuses Traditional Chinese and Western medicine.
The objectives of the visit built on those of the Prime Minister’s visit in December. Mr Clarke’s seniority and the size of the delegation demonstrate the UK Government’s commitment to a bilateral trade and investment partnership between the UK and China.
Chinese health spending has soared from 1 per cent of GDP in 2002 to 5.15 per cent today, with scope for much more to be invested in coming years. Health spending in China is projected to reach a trillion dollars by 2020.
The Minister’s visit is part of the work of Healthcare UK, the government agency responsible for promoting British healthcare abroad.