A delegation of top-level Chinese investors and government officials visited the Olympic Legacy Park (OLP) yesterday to see how it is contributing to the regeneration of Sheffield.
Among the 20 officials were the Mayor of Xuzhou, a former industrial city in the Jiangsu province of China, as well as a number of senior business leaders from the region.
Sheffield was chosen as an example of a city with an industrial heritage which is transforming into a high-tech, high-growth economy, and the OLP was presented as a showcase for this regeneration.
John Hayward, junior vice president at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, presented on the city’s changing economy and said: “Sheffield, traditionally strong in steel and coal, has transformed into a region of high-value manufacturing, healthcare, creative industries and logistics.
“The innovative approach taken at the Olympic Legacy Park and the Advanced Manufacturing Park, as well as the investment in these projects, is key for driving advancements in the region forward. It is through these developments that we are, and aim to stay, among the best in these sectors internationally.”
Olympic Legacy Park project director David Hobson, who presented the delegates with an overview of the OLP, said: “We are proud to welcome the delegates from Xuzhou to the city.
“The makeup of Xuzhou is very similar to that of Sheffield, with a strong industrial heritage, and our work at the innovative Olympic Legacy Park can provide inspiration for regeneration, development and growth.”
A presentation was also given on Sheffield Hallam University’s Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre (AWRC). At the heart of the OLP, the AWRC will be the most advanced research and development centre for physical activity in the world, creating innovations that help people move.
Dr David James, head of Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Sports Engineering Research, said: “I’m proud to be able to demonstrate how Sheffield Hallam is playing a leading role in revolutionising sport, health-care, physical activity and leisure.
“The visit by the Chinese investors and government officials is another step towards cementing the University’s global reputation for developing health and wellbeing technology.”
The delegates were shown the OLP, which is set to become an internationally recognised hub for health, wellbeing and innovation, from the roof terrace of the Oasis Academy Don Valley – the first building to be completed on site.
During their visit, hosted by Sheffield City Council, the officials were also given a formal welcome by the Lord Mayor, Coun Talib Hussain and a tour of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).
Coun Leigh Bramall, deputy leader and cabinet member for Business, Skills and Development at Sheffield City Council, said: “We were delighted to host Xuzhou and pleased they got to see how much is being created at the Olympic Legacy Park.
“The visit came on the same day as we also signed a Trade Agreement with another Chinese city, Nanchang. This demonstrates the level of interest in Sheffield from overseas investors at the current time, particularly from China.”
Following their stay in Sheffield, the delegates also attended the UK-China Joint Economic and Trade Commission, led by the UK Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, the Rt Hon Sajid Javid, MP, and the Chinese Minister of Commerce, Gao Hucheng.