China and the UK will jointly set up a financial technology hub in Xiongan New Area near Beijing, and an industrial park in the coastal Chinese city of Qingdao, the Ministry of Commerce announced on Feb 1, the second day of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s official China trip.
“China and the UK will sign deals worth about 9 billion pounds ($12.8 billion) during May’s visit. The deals will cover various sectors including the Belt and Road Initiative, finance, innovation, agriculture, and technology,” said ministry spokesman Gao Feng during a regular news conference.
May is accompanied on her first visit to China by a delegation of 50 British business executives, the largest that her government has ever taken overseas.
FinTech hub in Xiongan
Established in 2017, Xiongan New Area in Hebei province is a new economic zone, designed to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and relieve pressure on Beijing resulting from noncapital functions.
In late January, the Hebei Development and Reform Commission said it hoped to start construction of an industrial park soon. Some tech firms have already signed up to open offices in the new area.
Innovation industrial park in Qingdao
The industrial park in East China’s Qingdao will focus on innovation, according to a deal between the Qingdao government and the Confederation of British Industry, which was signed on Jan 31 witnessed by May and Premier Li Keqiang.
Spread over an area of 15.1 square kilometers, the park is designed to help China attract British investment in sectors such as medical care, technology transfer applications, advanced manufacturing, and creative design.
Construction started almost three months ago and is expected to last a year and a half. Costing 200 million pounds, the first phase will involve incubators for bioscience, a China-UK innovation and exchange center, and related service facilities.
The industrial park is in a new district of Qingdao whose GDP reached a high of over 320 billion yuan in 2017 with a year-on-year increase of 11 percent. The foreign trade volume of the new district is expected to be 171 billion yuan, up 28 percent.
China-UK CEO Council
A China-UK CEO Council, consisting of representatives from 15 Chinese enterprises and 16 British enterprises in the sectors of finance, energy, automobiles and telecommunications, was also inaugurated on Jan 31 to provide consultation for bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
The council is seen as an important measure for implementing the consensus reached during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK in 2015.