UK And China Snuggle Up For Green Tech Collaboration

The UK and China have pledged to create several new business initiatives as the Chinese President Xi Jinping continues his state visit of Great Britain.

The visit has so far seen both countries agree a multi-billion dollar deal to finance nuclear power stations in Britain, along with an admission that China has “room for improvement” on human rights.

And now a new partnership worth £325 million has been announced as both nations “join forces to boost creative and technology industries.”

Working together

The government said that low carbon taxis, zero-emission sports cars, and a TV training programme are at the centre of the new investment.

The partnerships encompass the film, TV and music industries, as well as advanced engineering, in order develop new technologies in both the UK and China.

The launch at Lancaster House was attended President Xi and Madam Peng Liyuan, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. They met a range of UK and Chinese companies working in creative collaborations.

Showbiz projects included a number of well known British TV, film and theatre shows (Poldark, BBC Earth, Sherlock etc) and to add a bit of Hollywood glamour, Jackie Chan was also in attendance.

But besides the arts, it seems that tech is very much at the forefront of these partnerships, namely centred on low carbon partnerships. For example Aston Martin has signed a £50 million deal with China Equity to develop its zero-emission RapidE sports car. And the owner of the London Taxi Company (Geely) also announced an additional £50 million investment to enhance its research capabilities. This includes the launch of a new fleet of zero-emission-capable black cabs.

“Global partnerships are essential in building a Britain that is stronger, more prosperous and full of opportunity,” said Business Secretary Sajid Javid. “Deals like those announced today will ensure our economy remains resilient and our businesses feel well-equipped to face the future.”

“This is a perfect example of how UK-China collaboration not only promotes investment but also makes a difference to the lives of ordinary people,” said Javid. “It is another reason why China remains one of our most important international partners.”

Out Of The Cold?

Relations between the UK and China have not always been so warm and fuzzy, especially considering ongoing allegations of Chinese cyberattacks against Western firms.

Indeed, only a couple of years ago, Huawei complained it was still finding it difficult to sell to the UK government because of the vendor’s origins and connections in China.

But of late, there seems to have a slight thaw in the frosty relationship between China and the rest of the world.

In September during his state visit to the United States, Chinese President Xi Jinping promised to remove obstacles for US firms wanting to invest in China, as well as strengthen intellectual property protection.

He also toured the main Microsoft campus in Seattle, where he met with the bosses of leading US tech firms including Microsoft, Apple, IBM, Facebook, Amazon and others. The US and China also pledged at the same time to tackle the scourge of cybercrime together.

The European Union (EU) has also said it will work with China to develop and standardise 5G technology with a view to the first commercial networks launching in 2020.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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