5th UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable

On 16-17th September 2015, GBCC hosted the 5th annual UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable in London in partnership with the All China Youth Federation (ACYF) and the support of sponsors, HSBC and Prudential plc. The Roundtable’s theme of “Building Partnerships for Innovation and Entrepreneurship” promoted substantial discussion between a UK cross-party delegation of 25 MPs led by former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP, and senior representatives of the Chinese Communist Party’s youth wings under the leadership of ACYF President Zhou Changkui.

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Roundtable delegates attending keynote address from Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP

For the first time, this Young Leaders Roundtable took place alongside the UK-China People to People Dialogue, one of the UK’s key ministerial level talks with China, firmly establishing its role as an integral channel for building relations and understanding between the UK and China’s next generation of leaders. GBCC was particularly delighted to welcome the attendance of Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, who described the Young Leaders Roundtable as “one of the five highlights of her UK visit” along with FCO Minister of State, Hugo Swire; the UK and Chinese Ambassadors, and over 100 attendees to the closing session of the initiative.

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2015 was a big year for UK-China relations with the inaugural visit of President Xi Jinping to the UK on October 2015, the first State Visit in a decade and GBCC’s Young Leaders Roundtable played a key component in UK government high-level bilateral exchanges in the months leading up to the State Visit. The Roundtable brought together a range of experienced and next generation UK politicians and business people with their Chinese counterparts to discuss how to drive forward engagement and develop opportunities to promote innovation and entrepreneurship between the UK and China.

"Promoting Innovation and Entrepreneurship" was chosen as the theme as both governments attach a high level of importance to developing these sectors of the economy and there are shared natural synergies and expertise in these areas. As the Rt Hon Liam Byrne MP said: “China and the UK are together two of the most innovative and entrepreneurial nations on earth.”  Events like the Young Leaders Roundtable aim to provide a platform to turn these shared synergies into concrete outcomes.

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Rt Hon Robin Walker MP in discussion with Chinese delegates to the Roundtable

The Roundtable discussions focussed on the development of innovation eco-systems in China and the UK, models for incubators, accelerators, and science parks, the policy foundations that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, and how China and the UK can strengthen cooperation in these areas. The Roundtable attracted a high calibre of expert speakers, including David Willetts, former Minister for Universities and Science, representatives from UK businesses HSBC and Prudential plc and UK think tanks NESTA and The Entrepreneurs Network, alongside Chinese experts from the NPC Finance and Economy Committee, the CPC Central Committee Policy Research Office, the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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Roundtable discussion in progress

The UK-China Young Leaders Roundtable aims to provide unique opportunities to support the next generation of British and Chinese leaders in government and business, to promote better understanding and ways to work together for the mutual prosperity of the UK and China. The 5th annual Roundtable was no exception and demonstrated the increasing breadth and depth of engagement between our two countries. Several Young Leaders Roundtable alumni have already moved on to participating in the UK-China Leadership Forum as their careers progress.

GBCC is extremely grateful for the contributions of all participants, and in particular the Roundtable sponsors HSBC and Prudential plc, whose support for the initiative is invaluable. In 2016 the next Young Leaders Roundtable will build upon the newly established link with the government level UK-China People-to-People Dialogue, further bridging the gulf in understanding among young politicians in China and the UK.

Date posted: 25 February 2016

Categories: Political Dialogues

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