They were accorded an informal civic reception by councillors and officials of South Ayrshire Council in County Buildings in Ayr on the evening of Thursday 6 March. (See separate report below).
And on the morning of Friday 7 March the two diplomats were the special guests of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle at a business breakfast networking meeting held at the Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort, where they were joined by Bank of China manager Wang Dong and James Brodie from the China-Britain Business Council.
The meeting was hosted by Jordi Tarrida, general manager of Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort, and chaired by Norman Geddes, executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and managing partner of Frazer Coogans Solicitors.
[Pictured left to right: James Brodie, China-Britain Business Council; Wang Dong, Bank of China; Miss Hua Wang, Blairquhan Castle; Provost Helen Moonie, South Ayrshire Council; Amanda Zhou, Blairquhan Castle; Jordi Tarrida, General Manager, Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort; Zhang Huazhong, Acting Consul General for China in Scotland; Norman Geddes, managing partner at Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors and executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle; and Meiqin McColm, Panda Monium Ltd.]
After Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes had welcomed the assembled members and guests, Jordi Tarrida provided a comprehensive presentation on behalf of Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort.
Acting Chinese Consul General in Scotland Zhang Huazhong then gave a positive speech of encouragement to businesses interested in doing business with China, emphasising that he and his consular staff are available and anxious to assist in facilitating trade and commercial enterprise between our two countries.
James Brodie presented a useful and at times amusing set of slides about the market culture of China, and a few other pointers of practical interest to local businesses who would aspire to deal with Chinese companies and partners.
The meeting concluded with a guided tour of the magnificent premises and facilities at Turnberry.
Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and China
Since the beginning of the current challenging economic climate, the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle has been constantly advising and encouraging its members to seek out new business opportunities in regions of the world that were still managing to achieve continuing economic growth - notably China.
In October 2011, the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle in conjunction with South Ayrshire Council held a special meeting entitled “Encouraging Trade and Business between Ayrshire and China” at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.
The meeting was attended by the then Chinese Consul-General in Edinburgh Li Ruiyou, Consul Mr Wan Degang, and Deputy Consul Miss Zhu Hongying.
Building upon these initial contacts, and in order to further promote business and trade between Ayrshire and China, the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle arranged a meeting between the Chinese Consul-General in Scotland Mr Li Ruiyou, Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond and John Scott, MSP for Ayr at the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse in April 2012.
Then in September 2012 South Ayrshire Council Leader Bill McIntosh and Provost Helen Moonie welcomed ten senior business executives from China to the County Buildings in Ayr, when they attended an Elite Ayrshire Business Circle meeting.
Visit to China
Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman and Frazer Coogans Solicitors managing partner Norman Geddes spent the first week of 2013 in Shenzhen, southern China as the guest of Mr and Mrs Zhou and mineral water bottling and distribution company Ganten, who had recently purchased Blairquhan Castle in South Ayrshire.
Also in the visiting party were Norman’s wife and daughter, and Ayrshire business couple Jim and Meiqin McColm.
The objective of the visit was to promote business and cultural links between China and Ayrshire.
At the time of the purchase of Blairquhan Castle, Mr Zhou Jing Liang, owner and managing director of Ganten China, said: “Ganten wish to expand and diversify in Scotland with the aim of becoming a provider of top level accommodation and hospitality for elite Chinese and foreign tourists who desire only the best.”
Their aim is to stimulate business between China and Scotland and believe that they are the trailblazers, bringing valuable investment to Scotland.
The company are very sensitive to the cultural and historical aspects of Scotland and wish their move to be seen as promoting business here and culture in China.
Mr Zhou added: “It is the wish of Ganten to bring together the cultures of China and Scotland, by encouraging even greater tourist opportunities to the ever-growing affluent Chinese market.
“Ganten wish to become a pioneering, China-based organisation who shall bring to Scotland a sound and innovative platform for mutually beneficial tourist, cultural and commercial ventures.”
Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes concluded: “The members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle span many areas of knowledge and capability, and we are delighted to be able to use our connections around the globe for the benefit of Ayrshire as a whole.
“Our members Jim and Meiqin McColm have played and continue to play an integral part in our efforts to further business between Ayrshire and China, for which we offer them our thanks and appreciation.”
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