Manchester City Council

Where in the World

Last week Manchester Airport Group announced that DHL had signed up as the first tenant in Airport City, the first of what I expect to be many such announcements. The key to this of course is international trade. The Greater Manchester Strategy (GMS) has identified internationalisation, increased trade with other countries, and increased investment from them, as a key priority. The evidence that underpins the GMS shows that companies that trade internationally are in general more productive and more profitable than those that don't, and that GM is underperforming in this area. We can't increase international trade for Manchester unless we promote the city internationally and build relationships with other places. We can't do that everywhere so we have to focus and one of the places we are focussing on is China. That's why last week the Lord Mayor was in our friendship city Wuhan, and Deputy Leader Bernard Priest was in Beijing.

It's actually quite rare for elected members to be involved in visits like these but sometimes it's appropriate. A few weeks ago I spent a day and a half in Beijing (and going to China for a night is hardly a junket) for the launch of the Manchester-China Forum and the announcement that Beijing Construction and Engineering Group were to be a joint venture partner in the development of Airport City. Couldn't we have just issued a press release? Well we could but that would have done nothing to help build the so important relationships necessary to make deals like this work. It's also extremely unlikely that a press release would have generated the 433 UK and 462 China pieces of coverage that actually came out of the launch and announcement with an advertising equivalent value of £8.5m and an audience of 4.7billion people.

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The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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