Chinese-speaking students are to be placed with UK organisations, including Chatsworth House, to help them break into the Chinese market or find new investment, Trade Minister Lord Livingston announced.
The GREAT Ambassadors scheme is a pilot programme which will be run by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the University of Sheffield to provide valuable and cost-effective access to Chinese language, cultural and business knowledge.
China has been chosen as the target market for the pilot as their import demand is expected to dwarf all the other emerging powers, rising by $3.4 trillion between 2010 and 2020. China is also expected to invest $1.25 trillion overseas in the next decade.
China has more students studying in the UK than any other overseas group, with more than 70,000 according to the most recent figures.
Chatsworth House has over the last few years welcomed an increasing number of Chinese visitors and has already signed up to the scheme.
Sally Hogg, Head of Marketing attended the event. She said:
“We are excited to be part of this pilot programme. This opportunity will help the students to experience the business side of tourism in one of the most visited heritage attractions in England. With their language skills and cultural awareness, we will be able to develop the visitor experience for Chinese visitors, from etiquette and social media to improved events, exhibitions, guided tours, signage and translated materials.”
Trade Minister Lord Livingston said:
“China offers great opportunities for UK companies of all sizes, with growing demand for brand Britain. Chinese-speaking students can help UK businesses to overcome the linguistic and cultural barriers that could stand between them and the Chinese market.
“Contact UKTI to find out how they can help you with your export ambitions in China and beyond.”
Suzannah Hutton, UKTI East Midlands’ Language and Cultural specialist added:
“The benefits of hiring a foreign language student to work in your organisation are enormous. We know that companies can struggle to communicate well with their overseas target markets, but issues can be overcome by taking on a student who is a national. It is really important to get the language and culture right for all markets, particularly one such as China which is one of the biggest overseas markets for East Midlands businesses. In fact, in the second quarter of this year, it was worth £400 million to our local firms, including trade to Hong Kong.
UKTI’s Postgraduates for International Business programme is also helping companies to employ the expertise of foreign-language speaking students based at local universities or higher education institutions so I would encourage companies to contact UKTI East Midlands on 0345 052 4001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about benefitting from both of these initiatives.”
The University of Sheffield was chosen for the programme as it has one of the largest Chinese student populations in the UK as well as one of the largest and most established schools of East Asian Studies in the UK.
Interns will undertake a range of projects including:
- Helping companies establish online Chinese presence for example on Tmall – China’s equivalent to eBay;
- Help market the company via Chinese social media channels such as Weibo (Chinese equivalent to Twitter);
- Liaising with Chinese distributors;
- Provide advice and support on Chinese business culture and etiquette;
- Helping companies develop a Chinese version of their brand;
- Support company representatives on market visits to China; and
- Identify ways to cater for growing numbers of Chinese tourists such as menus and signage.