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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 11:09 GMT 12:09 UK
Morgan unveils Shanghai offices
Hugh Williams, chief executive, Graig Shipping; Judy Qian, chief representative, Graig China Ltd;  First Minister Rhodri Morgan
Graig executives Hugh Williams and Judy Qian, with Rhodri Morgan in Shanghai

A new office to promote Wales in eastern China has been opened by Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

Mr Morgan also officially opened branches of two Welsh companies - one based in Flintshire, the other in Cardiff - during his trade visit.

He said the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) base in Shanghai would help companies in "one of the most dynamic emerging regions in the global economy."

Mr Morgan also attended an international trade fair in the eastern China city of Xiamen.

Executives of 18 Welsh companies have accompanied the first minister on the investment mission.

We have a proven track record in attracting investment and re-investment, particularly in the emerging knowledge industries
Andrew Davis, Welsh Development Agency
The Shanghai office complements the WDA's Beijing base, which was opened in May 2002.

"Wales offers Chinese companies the ideal platform from which to serve the European market of over 400 million consumers," said Mr Morgan.

"We offer a well educated workforce, excellent transportation links and competitive costs."

Andrew Davis, the WDA's executive vice-president of Asia-Pacific, said: "Our Shanghai office will enable us to build direct relationships with businesses throughout the eastern China region, while facilitating information exchange and investment opportunities between China and Wales."

The purpose for establishing a WDA representative office in eastern China is to help enterprises from Shanghai and surrounding provinces to seize opportunities to expand overseas," said Mr Davis.

European market

"We have a proven track record in attracting investment and re-investment, particularly in the emerging knowledge industries.

"Wales is also a strategic, tariff-free gateway to the European market. These are important factors that constitute to the growing volume of investments from mainland China enterprises into Wales."

First Minister Rhodri Morgan talks to journalists at the China International Fair for Investment and Trade
Mr Morgan at the China trade fair in Xiamen, a twin city of Cardiff
This year has seen two Chinese companies announce projects in Wales, and five mainland Chinese firms have invested in Wales since 2001. The latest investors are Sukida Motorcycles of Guangdong province and Chu Zhan Stone Corp of Shanghai.

Mr Morgan also opened the new Shanghai office of Mostyn-based chemical company Warwick International.

Warwick, the world's leading producer of a chemical additive in household detergents, employs 230 at its main manufacturing site and headquarters, and will use the Shanghai base to develop its business further in the growing Chinese market.

Warwick managing director and chief executive Bob Ellis said: "We see China as a great opportunity for our company both in terms of sourcing speciality chemicals for our European distribution businesses and as an emerging market for our detergent additives manufactured in Wales".

The other office unveiled by Mr Morgan was one run by the Graig Group, which was established in Cardiff in 1919 when the Welsh capital was one of the world's leading ports.

Graig organises the building of ships, as well as operating its own fleet. It is one of only two shipping companies based in Cardiff, employing 275 people.

The company has a contract to supervise almost 50 new ships in China built for itself and other maritime groups.

Graig chief executive Hugh Williams said: "We are constantly expanding our existing portfolio in China, with more new building supervision and new ship designs.

"We are also actively developing partnerships with a number of leading marine-related businesses who want to use Graig's network and experience to help them expand into China."




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