Scotland has ‘innovation in every corner’ - FM

Sino-Scottish partnerships worth more than £40 million announced during China trade mission.

First Minister Alex Salmond today told Chinese investors that Scotland has “innovation in every corner” as he announced a series of new partnerships and business deals between Scotland and China with a projected total value of £40 million over the next ten years.

Speaking at a Scotland innovation showcase in Beijing, the First minister confirmed that seven Scottish organisations had signed deals with Chinese partners in a range of fields, including oil and gas, software, design, architecture, sport and education.

During the event - part of the First Minister’s trade mission to Beijing and Hong Kong - Mr Salmond said Scotland was well placed to benefit from China’s strategic focus on innovation, with pedigree in key industrial sectors spread right across the country, from the North Sea oil and gas sector and the renewables expertise in the Highlands and Islands to the world-leading gaming industry in Dundee and Edinburgh.

The First Minister said:

“China has identified innovation as absolutely crucial to its economic transformation and access to foreign skills and expertise has been highlighted in its latest five year plan as critical to the country’s future success.

“From developing the oil and gas fields of the North Sea to producing the highest quality food and drink; from harnessing wind, wave and tidal power in our world-leading renewables industry to developing some of the world’s most popular video games, Scotland has innovation in every corner and a huge amount to offer China.

“Today’s announcements – worth £40 million to Scotland over the next decade - demonstrate the demand in China for Scottish expertise and quality products in a host of industry sectors, with significant partnerships showing the real benefits to both countries of our expansion into the Chinese market.

“Scotland’s China strategy makes it clear that widening and deepening our links with China is a key component to the promotion of sustainable economic growth, and this week’s trade mission will help meet that aim by allowing firms to forge new business partnerships in the powerhouse Chinese economy.”

The announcements made at the innovation showcase were:

  • Industrial boiler plant makers Cochran Ltd signed a three year partnership with Hong Kong and China Gas Ltd to upgrade industrial systems across China to make them more environmentally friendly. Cochran estimates the new deal to be worth more than £3 million with up to 20 new jobs created in its Annan facility over the next three years.
  • Edinburgh-based software company Run Rev announced plans to open a subsidiary office in Beijing through a joint venture with a Chinese American based entrepreneur, Dr Andy Parng. The company has also launched a Chinese website for its LiveCode product, which enables people to create their own apps. Run Rev anticipates profits of up to £30 million over the next three years from its China business.
  • Glasgow-based Twig World produces film and online learning materials in science, maths and geography across 13 languages in 34 countries. The company signed an agreement with China National Publishing Import Export Company (CNPIEC) to deliver education products to the growing number of international and bilingual schools in the country. CNPIEC is the largest importer of published and audio visual material in China.
  • Designers of the world’s first unmanned offshore oil platforms, Unmanned Production Buoy Limited (UPB), signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Offshore Oil Engineering Co Ltd - a subsidiary of CNOOC - for the mass manufacture of its shells /hulls and various components. The MoU will see components manufactured in China, under licence from UPB over a 10 year programme. The first units will be completed in 2017 and UPB expects significant future revenues through resulting worldwide sales.
  • The Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) signed an agreement with Chinese partners PPLive TV to screen 58 Scottish league matches in China to an audience of 60 million. The agreement is a key part of SPFL’s overseas TV rights that will generate more than £20 million for the Scottish game.
  • Edinburgh based Adrok announced a joint venture agreement with Hengzheng Oil Field to deploy its sub-surface radar technology in China. The company estimates a value of £5 million over three years and the creation of ten high salary jobs in Scotland.
  • Applegreen Homes, a green construction company operating in central Scotland, announced a partnership with the Vanke Group, one of China’s largest property developers to develop a ‘home of the future’ to showcase innovation and design from Scotland. The home will be part of the Beijing Green Building Park, the world’s largest construction industry exhibition, which aims to promote a greener and more innovative building industry. The project will also enable Scottish firms to showcase their products within the home’s interior over the five year exhibition period.

Julian Taylor, Director Asia Pacific, Scottish Development International said:

“China has clearly stated that innovation will play a key part in its 12th five-year plan, which calls for sustainable economic growth.

"This has clear parallels with Scotland’s economic strategy and this visit will help us promote partnership in areas that have been specifically identified as priorities to China including energy, life sciences, technology, digital media and education.

"The fact that Scottish exports to China are growing and the number of companies participating in this visit shows that more and more Scottish firms are looking to international markets to drive growth. China is a complex market but the volume of new announcements being made today shows what is entirely achievable."

The Scottish showcase event forms part of the First Minister’s fourth visit to China, where he will lead a trade delegation of 30 companies across meetings and events with Chinese industry and government to deepen business links with Scotland and China at a senior level.

Notes to editors

The Scotland innovation showcase in Beijing was part of the First Minister’s trade mission to China, with delegations from the oil and gas and construction sectors comprising 30 companies undertaking business in the country over a five-day period.

At the same time as the First Minister’s visit, six Scottish companies will also attend the China Fisheries & Seafood Expo 2013 in Dalian where they will promote their produce at a Scottish Kitchen sponsored by Seafood Scotland and Scottish Development International.

The visit helps meet the ambitions set out in the Scottish Government’s China Strategy to increase engagement with the world’s second largest economy and builds on recent business successes, including:

From 2007 to 2012 exports from Scotland to China increased by 88% from £265m to £498m.

Over the same period, the share of Scottish exports to China increased from 2 per cent to 3 per cent of all Scottish exports.

Far East markets accounted for around 2 per cent of fresh Scottish salmon exports in the years prior to 2011, when the Scottish Government secured a new import deal with China following discussions between the First Minister and then Vice Premier Li KeQiang. Since then, the proportion of global sales to the Far East has reached 19 per cent in the first half of 2013 with a value of £37m. China accounts for more than half of the value of total sales.

In the five years between 2007 and 2012, Scotch whisky exports to China rose by 70 per cent from £42.1 million to £71.5 million, helped by the granting of geographical indication of origin status for the product in China in 2010.

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