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Going for Gold

A year from now the world’s attention turns to London for the 2012 Olympic Games. As Boris Johnson recently said, “this is London’s time to shine.”...

A year from now the world’s attention turns to London for the 2012 Olympic Games. As Boris Johnson recently said, “this is London’s time to shine.” But what could it mean for business and why is it so important to the UK-China relationship?

On a macro level, there are obvious synergies for the UK and China in that the torch was passed from Beijing to London. However, look deeper and there are far more opportunities for the two nations to use this platform as a springboard for closer cooperation. 

It’s not all about sport. Running parallel to key London Olympic themes such as high performance, sustainability, innovation and global synergy are obvious business connotations and cohesion. More specifically, there are opportunities that relate to the UK-China business and government agenda. But what does it actually mean for your business?

 In re-applying the Olympic themes, clearly, China is one of the world’s ‘high performers’. Chinese companies are hungry for investment and want to compete globally, much like Olympiads. In such a fiercely competitive environment, companies have the opportunity to showcase their development and success in London and the wider UK market. Likewise, it’s an opportunity to demonstrate future growth at a pace even Usain Bolt would be proud of. Many Chinese companies consider rapid development crucial to their survival.

On ‘sustainability and innovation’, the timing could not be better for the London Olympics to actively promote the UK’s creativity, innovative design and technology. The government is presenting the UK as a design hub, but China is also keen to grow its reputation in this area. China’s 12th Five-Year Plan aims to invest more money in research and development – views Premier Wen Jiabao expressed on his recent trip to the UK. The appointment of more creative forces within the political sphere means that China is making a concerted effort to shift its label of ‘made in China’ to ‘designed in China’.

Taking the theme of ‘global strategy’, Chinese companies are vying for a place amongst the world’s top corporations. The term ‘going global’ reflects how businesses can build on Olympic-inspired unity and show how important global cooperation is for future growth.

As the man that kick-started the whole event, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone talked about the importance of the Olympics regarding UK-China relations at UpStage’s C-level UK-China business dinner at the Mandarin Oriental. He noted: “If I get re-elected, my first trip as mayor will be to China.”

Capitalising on global events such as the Olympics 

UpStage’s Managing Director Phil White emphatically concurs. “Capitalising on global events such as the Olympics has become an integral part of business development and a fantastic means of showcasing success. I couldn’t think of a better opportunity for UK-China related businesses to develop their business relationships with existing clients and new prospects. We certainly will be, and we will also be advising our clients on how best they can do this.” 

A programme of this scale and importance requires inspired and unique solutions. UpStage provides exactly this: inspired, bespoke communication solutions that help businesses engage their clients, prospects and teams in an interesting and compelling way. UpStage has developed a programme of activities and campaigns that companies from China and/or working with China can utilise to build their profile, create more demand for their products and services and put on their own ‘greatest show on earth’.

Programmes can include a visit to the Team China training base in Leeds, or a tour by Lord Coe around his former training routes. Clients can also create their own Olympic team and take them on a tour of the city using the Boris bikes, guided by Boris Johnson himself, or even Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy. It is this sort of collaboration that can help to build UK-China business relations further throughout the 2012 Olympics and beyond.