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Home > Embassy News > 2009
Minister Counsellor Zhang Lirong Attends and Addresses the Opening Session of the 21st Century China-UK Entrepreneurship Competition

On October 30, Minister Counsellor Zhang Lirong attended the opening session of the Fourth China- UK Entrepreneurship Competition held at the University of York and delivered a keynote speech. Speeches were also made by the Lord Mayor of York Coun John Galvin and Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr Chris Henshall. Among the 100 attendants were representatives from the University of Lancaster, University College London and Queen’s University Belfast, members of the China-Britain Business Council, Chinese businesses in Britain, Chinese scholars and students.

Zhang Lirong began with an overview of the tremendous achievements across economic, social and political fields that China has scored over the past 60 years. He pointed out, the key to China’s success of achieving within a few decades what had taken the West hundreds of years lies in its development path that fits its own national conditions, its adherence to reform and opening-up policy and its capability to keep up with the times. He said, despite rapid economic growth, remarkable improvements in people’s lives and higher international status, China still encounters numerous challenges and difficulties. For instance, its per capita GDP still ranks behind 100th, population, employment, resource and environmental issues are yet to be resolved, and development is imbalanced across different regions and communities and between urban and rural areas. China is a country that is both big and small, and strong and weak. China will continue to follow the policy of peaceful development, press ahead with the reform and open-up agenda, work more closely with the rest of the world for a win-win scenario. As the fundamentals of China’s rapid economic growth remain unchanged, we are confident that we can sustain the current momentum of rapid growth and deliver the strategic objective of becoming a middle-level developed country by 2050.

Zhang Lirong then briefed the audience on what the China-Britain relationship has achieved this year. He said, under the current financial crisis, the two countries should forge closer ties and are facing new opportunities for cooperation. There is a huge potential in cooperation on science and technology, education and trade. Universities and businesses of the two countries are expected to unleash creativity and enrich means of cooperation. Zhang congratulated the opening of the Fourth China-UK Entrepreneurship Competition, expressed his hope that the Competition can help facilitate technical innovation and entrepreneurship. He wished the contestants good luck and encouraged Chinese students in Britain to study and work harder and play their part in promoting mutual understanding and cooperation between the two countries.

Dr. Henshall said, York is the birthplace of Britain’s railway system and one of the cities with the most ancient entrepreneurship history. The University of York encourages innovation and entrepreneurship across all fields such as teaching, science and research, management, and has put in place a robust network of international cooperation. As of now, it has established partnership with Beijing University, Nanjing University and Zhejiang University and hopes to increase cooperation with China by participating in the “China-UK entrepreneurship Competition”.

Professor Brown from the Lancaster University Management School said, China has set a strategic goal of building an innovation-centred country by 2020 when its research budget will have accounted for 2.5% of its GDP, much bigger than that of Britain. Cooperation between the two countries in research innovation enjoys huge potential. Brown gave a brief introduction on the procedure and rules of the competition and encouraged active participation from the audience.

Lord Mayor Galvin said that the successful opening of the China-UK entrepreneurship Competition means a lot to himself as well as the University of York. He pledged to work his best for greater cooperation and interaction between York and China.

The Competition was jointly hosted by the China Innovation and Development Association in the UK, Chongqing Science Association, University of York, University College London and the University of Lancaster, and made possible with the support of Tianjin TEDA International Business Incubator, the China-Britain Business Council and other institutions. It was intended to integrate entrepreneurship resources of the two countries and put in place a platform for bilateral exchange.

After the opening session, Minister Counsellor Zhang Lirong and Lord Mayor Galvin visited the innovation centre of the University of York.

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