Some of Britain’s most successful manufacturers are taking part in a week-long mission to the biggest engineering market in the world — China.
They are hoping to take advantage of China’s almost insatiable appetite for engineering skills.
The UK Advanced Engineering China Showcase, organised by UK Trade & Investment, is taking place in Shanghai this week and comprises 30 UK companies and organisations, as well as Ian Godden, chairman of aerospace and defence trade association A|D|S, and Paul Everitt, the chief executive of the automotive trade association, the SMMT.
Among the companies taking part are Lotus Engineering, Rolls-Royce, motorsport specialists Prodrive, Airbus UK and GKN. They will meet major Chinese car and aerospace companies including AVIC, COMAC and China Automobile.
In 2009, China decisively overtook the USA as the world’s number one automotive market as vehicle sales reached 13.6 million.
Chinese aircraft maker AVIC estimates China will increase its commercial aircraft fleet size to 4,233 by the end of 2028. This equates to demand for 3,796 aircraft
“China has some hugely ambitious engineering projects. Among the most exciting are the plans to build up a Chinese family of airliners.” said Ian Godden.
“We have the second largest aerospace industry in the world and it is very research intensive. We believe we are well placed to help China meet its aerospace ambitions as well as further reduce the impact of aviation on the global environment thanks to our world-leading expertise in lightweight materials and fuel efficiency that has led to the average aircraft in operation in the UK being as fuel-efficient as a hybrid car.”
Paul Everitt of the SMMT said: “The UK car industry is characterised by famous marques recognised the world over and highly-skilled engineers who are behind many of the world’s most popular and successful models. As attention shifts to ultra-low carbon technology, the UK is leading the charge with the skills, capabilities and technological strengths needed to produce the cars of tomorrow with ever-increasing efficiency, helping to secure its position in the global industry.”
He added: “Each car manufactured in the UK requires just half the energy to produce that it did just five years ago. Our skill in producing cars should, in itself, be of interest to Chinese businesses.”
Sir Andrew Cahn, chief executive of UK Trade & Investment, said: “Shanghai is currently buzzing with positive feedback for the UK Pavilion, which has become the defining image of Expo and has won the UK plaudits for its originality and creativity.
We now have the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot and show the Chinese that we are a powerful and skilled force in engineering.
“The UK’s world-class research and development capabilities can help resolve the emerging technological challenges around energy and low carbon.
“That makes us very attractive to global businesses. I wish the delegation every success and look forward to hearing about the business opportunities generated by this visit.”