The University of Northampton, a leading British higher education institution, through its China & Emerging Economies Centre (CEEC, a research & consulting group) has formed a strategic partnership with the organisers of the British Motorsport Festival (BMF) in China to develop business opportunities between British & Chinese companies in Motorsport and related industries. The partnership aims to facilitate Sino-British exchange both on and off the track, with the aim of developing further ties between the UK, the home of motorsport and China, the rapidly emerging destination of cars, tracks, teams, fans and sponsors.
As the world’s largest car market, motorsport in China is growing quickly from a low base and the potential for partnerships and trade between the two countries is the reason for the strategic alliance. The British Motorsport Festival in China was established in 2015 to create an event which would showcase British culture, community and competition in motorsport, and has successfully attracted leading British car brands including Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren, Morgan, Radical, and MINI to take part both on the track and in the paddock.
The BMF has gained the full support of the UK Government Department of International Trade (UKDIT), the CBBC (the China Britain Business Council), CBI, British Chambers of Commerce and British Council, and the University of Northampton will play a key role in developing the potential of the BMF in the UK in attracting and supporting companies to trade with China.
CEEC, the China & Emerging Economies Centre led by its Director, Shaowei He, Associate Professor in International Business and Deputy Director Adrian Pryce, Senior Lecturer in International Business & Strategy, was established to develop and support commercial, research and project links between the UK and emerging countries and fast growing markets. Introduced by the China Britain Business Council (CBBC) offices in Beijing, the two parties quickly saw the merits in a strategic partnership.
The University of Northampton is active in the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) dedicated to regional trade and inward investment, and as part of its commitment to the new strategic alliance has invited SEMLEP to partner with the University with a view to jointly engaging the region’s motorsport industry, based around world famous Silverstone, as well as fostering Sino-British links with other related sectors such as the high performance engineering and ‘next generation’ vehicles.
Commenting on the partnership, Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor, said, “The University of Northampton is one of the youngest in the UK, but one of the most entrepreneurial and socially engaged, and was the first to be named as an Ashoka-accredited ‘Changemaker Campus’ in 2012. We have had a presence in China for several years and each year welcome 700 Chinese students who study with us. Our China & Emerging Economies Centre is an initiative to generate academic and commercial partnerships with parts of the world which will add significant value to the SEMLEP region, and this alliance with the British Motorsport Festival creates exciting opportunities for all parties concerned.”
The South East Midlands is a national growth area, and covers the core of the UK’s and, indeed, the world’s best known “Motorsport Valley” around Silverstone. Motorsport in the UK is a GBP£9bn industry creating some 41,000 jobs within 4,300 companies, it is home to 8 of 11 F1 teams, and offers 32 race circuits in addition to the street and rally courses. The SEMLEP geographical area includes half the Formula 1 grid, including world champions Mercedes based in Brackley, Red Bull in Milton Keynes and the Silverstone Race Circuit.
The South East Midlands also has a high concentration of high performance engineering where businesses like Pro-drive, which operates Aston Martin Racing, and Millbrook, an independent engineering and test service provider, are located. SEMLEP is also home to a large number of NEXTGEN EV technologies both for motorsport and road use, and sits in the middle of the Oxford-Cambridge corridor.
SEMLEP Chief Executive Stephen Catchpole said, “The South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership is delighted to work with the University of Northampton and the Beijing based British Motorsport Festival as a platform to help our regional companies explore the China market, and also to engage with Chinese companies which are seeking the best destination for their inward investment to the UK.”
The 3 year partnership has been formed to allow the long term development of research, trade and investment to take place between Chinese and British companies, initially in motorsport but with the potential to expand to other industries. The British Motorsport Festival provides a focal point for companies to engage with China, and in turn for Chinese companies to return to the UK to explore opportunities for collaboration.
Commenting on the partnership, British Motorsport Festival founder, Jim James said, “China offers many opportunities for British business, and the function of our series of events is to allow companies to explore the market with minimal risks by creating a centre of knowledge at the University of Northampton’s China & Emerging Economies Centre, and a business to business event in China attended by qualified potential partners with a common purpose.”
The British Motorsport Conference will take place in Beijing on 12th October, and the British Motorsport Festival on the 14 & 15th October at the Goldenport Race Track.
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