Opportunities for local businesses in the booming Chinese market took an important step forward this week with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Redland City and its Chinese friendship city Qinhuangdoa.
Visiting the Chinese port city as part of an international business mission, Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said the MOU included specific actions designed to deliver for local businesses.
“This MOU is all about opening the door for local business in the lucrative Chinese market, with key local growth sectors such as education, health, wellness and aged care specifically identified as opportunities in the agreement,” Cr Williams said.
“It has been written specifically with local businesses in mind, including marine based businesses who have been knocking on the door in China for some time and will no doubt benefit from this commitment by both cities to progress these opportunities.”
Cr Williams said the signing of the MOU came a day after she met with the President and Vice President of the new district in Qinhuangdao – Beidehe – which included a national health industry focussed on innovation in the health sector, as well as other industries that are key growth sectors for the Redlands.
“This new district is focussed on many industries that are strong in the Redlands, including tourism, health, wellness and aged care, so this relationship holds great potential for us locally,” she said.
“The President and Vice President of Beidehe are keen to visit the Redlands and pursue opportunities with our city, particularly in educating and skilling a workforce for health and aged care and I will be speaking with our economic development board and local business community to ensure we benefit from this interest.”
Acting Mayor Wendy Boglary said the signing of the MOU with Qinhuangdao also came on the back of councillors receiving two new economic development sector plans for health and education designed to grow business opportunities in these key local sectors.
“These two new strategies, received by Council at Wednesday’s General Meeting, are a key part of the City’s economic framework and will deliver untapped economic opportunities,” Cr Boglary said.
“They include actions such as growing the international education market and cultivating a local university sector, as well as identifying the need for a centre of excellence in education for the ageing, and developing a health and education precinct.
“Councils from across South East Queensland are battling for economic opportunities for their respective cities and if the Redlands is going to have a seat at the table we need to have a plan for how we stand out from our neighbours and these strategies provide that plan.
“To succeed, these strategies require relationships both within the local business sector and with international markets and the MOU with Qinhuangdao will develop those relationships and build on these strategies.”
Cr Williams said the MOU also committed both cities to signing a full sister city relationship within the next 12 months.
“This shows the commitment for long term strategic relationships by both cities,” she said.
“Sister city relationship deliver significant benefits for local businesses and schools and I have no doubt that moving to a formal sister city status with Qinhuangdao will do the same.”