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Case Studies

Case Study One

Shandong Sports Government.

Sport in China is run predominantly by the Chinese government. There is a strong focus on sports in which they believe they can confidently compete in on the world stage, such as the Olympic Games.

CUK was asked to work with Shandong Sports Government to help develop their provincial Rugby 7s team. The teams (both men’s and women’s) were ranked number 5 in China and Shandong wanted to improve on this.

CUK employed the best rugby coaches that were available in China; a pre requisite of Shandong Government because their requirement was for the best, not the cheapest – a common approach in China.

Andy Lindley, from Leeds Rhinos Super League Club and Chris Richards, former Royal Marine PTI and Director of Rugby at Somerset Vikings Rugby League, were commissioned to travel to Shandong for two months. On arrival the duo immediately noted that the existing coaches were not adopting modern techniques in player development.

Diet, gym and physical fitness and strength, as well as basic fundamentals of rugby all came under close scrutiny and a programme was quickly put in place to implement the changes required to achieve notable improvements in performance.

Most of the players had been selected from other sports, chosen for their strengths in other disciplines, such as fast runners, strong athletes, hand/eye co-ordinated players etc. A cohesive plan for player development was identified by Andy and Chris as being critical to success. On the pitch they managed the development of the team members, teaching them modern, tactical rugby and passing on advice from high-level coaches, whilst off the field CUK managed the relationship at the Government head offices.

The result after three months, was that Shandong participated in the China National games, where both the Men’s and Women’s teams emerged victorious, beating every other provincial opponent in China to take home gold medals.

Additionally, Central Government recognising the teams’ achievements, built a brand new stadium in Shandong which was to become the training ground for the National team to prepare for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

From this firm foundation, CUK has established a long-standing and very strong relationship with Shandong. This has led to other business opportunities in other sectors including the twinning of agriculture-based projects with the UK. Delegations from Shandong Government have visited us here and we have now successfully built solid connections with Local Government where we can “call in for a cup of tea“ any time we are in town.

Case Study Two.

The Royal Agricultural University

The Royal Agriculture University, had ambitions of expanding their Wiltshire campus, with plans to increase student numbers.

With the UK then in the early stages of recovery from the Recession, the University turned to China in their quest to raise around £350m. CUK was engaged to work alongside Prof Chris Mullard and Prof Kanes Rajar to find a suitable financial partner.

CUK has excellent relationships in China, not only with Government and private sector business, but also with a comprehensive network of investors. Using our in-depth knowledge resulting from our role as investor advisors in the region, we identified a world renowned investment company who were looking for a foot in the door to the UK education market, so the fit was good.

Following initial briefings and Skype conversations chaired by CUK, Prof Mullard travelled to China to meet the investor. CUK hosted a formal meeting in Shanghai which went well and culminated in an extension on to dinner. Those of you who have been to China and experienced the warm hospitality, will appreciate that the evening was filled with good humour and relationship building.

Creating a bedrock of trust and understanding is Stage One of the relationship building process – and by the end of the night, we were delighted that both parties had agreed in principle to work together to achieve the desired outcome.

However, we were very aware that this was not the time to rest on our laurels and to assume it was a ‘done deal’. Indeed, most overseas businesses attempting to enter the Chinese market, do manage to get to the ‘agreement in principle’ stage. But our wealth of experience in China/UK relations has taught us that it is at the next hurdle that many businesses fall by the wayside as communications, and inevitably relationships, start to fade and interest on the Chinese side wanes.

Our skill is in keeping the dialogue moving along to skillfully close the sale by utlising our knowledge of the Chinese system and culture to negotiate the many possible pitfalls along the way. In this case, Prof Mullard and Prof Kanes worked alongside CUK as did the investor, a mutually beneficial deal was reached and the funds were transferred within six months of the first meeting.

Case Study Three

Huian College

In May 2014, Lord Wei, eminent businessman, social entrepreneur and the youngest member of the House of Lords, was kind enough to introduce to CUK a prestigious project which we accepted with great relish. The project involved the Jiangsu City of Huian, whose college was leading on an initiative that Prime Minister David Cameron and Chinese President Xi Jing Ping had discussed only months earlier on the President’s visit to the UK.

Working with our good friends and partners at BE Education (Oxford International College), we met with the Party Secretary of Huaian at the House of Lords for a lunch hosted by Lord Wei.

The objective was to create a partnership whereby China could begin to deliver vocational education within its own borders. The UK was not looking to deliver the package in its entirety in China, so after many months of communications and relationship building, Bridgwater College in Somerset and Huain Technical College agreed to deliver on a 2+1 basis, with Bridgwater College helping to deliver their curriculum for two years in China and the final year being completed in the UK. The partners agreed to focus the pilot programme on key market growth sectors in China – Teacher Training, Elderly Care, Early Years Education, and Internet Commerce and Business.

CUK developed this relationship and brokered the deal, which took a year to get to completion. However the result was that both partners achieved their objectives and an agreement worth a significant figure was signed in April 2016.

Additionally, a number of low value short-term projects were agreed so that both partners can knowledge-share, build trust and foster a good working relationship. This element should not be underestimated and CUK is well placed to advise on the best way to approach this. We fully understand that long-term higher revenue projects are more lucrative, but equally for positive cash flow purposes and for forging good relationships, many clients do benefit from the inclusion also of shorter term projects. In this case, CUK was able to facilitate both for our client to the satisfaction of all parties.

Case Study Four

CUK has been working closely with the city of Changzhou in Jiangsu Province for the past year or so. We have already built a strong relationship by introducing UK SMEs to the area in specific sectors of commercial interest to Changzhou..

CUK has focused not only on the private sector, but also now has strong connections with the city government. As a result, CUK is proud to announce that as of May 2016 (DARREN – SHOULD THIS BE 2015?) we have been appointed as official representatives of the Changzhou area. CUK has reached an agreement with Changzhou that offers UK companies looking to grow into China, a very attractive incentive package to start their WOFE in the province.

Incentives include assistance and advice in the formation of client WOFEs, as well as a staffed office representing UK interests in the area. The UK client will have access to a virtual office with staff who speak both Mandarin and English.

Key sectors Changzhou are currently seeking are:
• Education (Vocational and HE)
• Medical Technology and Healthcare for the eldery in particular
• New Materials Technology (EG Graphene)
• Marine
• Gas , Oil and Shipping
• New Technology.

The city also has one of the wealthiest population in China , and opportunities exist for solid investments into the UK.

Changzhou is 40 minutes from Shanghai by train and is on the main line that connects Beijing to Shanghai. Even with the high wealth population, the labour pay rate is very low, both in Chinese and UK terms.

Other Case Studies

CUK has knowledge of many project opportunities in China that require UK partners.

We have excellent relationships with Chinese provincial governments looking to develop their areas with UK expertise and seeking Research and Development input for new technology.

At Chinese central government level we also have many good friends and contacts within key growth sector departments. In the vocational education sector in particular, we have many colleges in China who are actively seeking partnerships with UK academic establishments.

Other projects include the development of a British Education Teacher training facility; a Top Ten UK University looking to build a new Chinese campus; lower ranked universities who are working with equivalent partners in China for students: R&D and Other growth ambitions; and the development of the Private Members Club market in China.

We also have projects in the expanding markets of Aviation; Environment Protection; Water and City facility development, UK G8 Technology currently under R&D, etiquette and butler training, and many more….