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Region Event

IoD South West - Building Bristol & West of England Trade Development with China

21 Jan 2022
Online, Online

Did you know, Bristol is twinned with Guangzhou and this year celebrates its 20th year Anniversary with it's China City Sister Partner.

In November 2012, IoD South West members along with representatives of Bristol & West of England, Bristol Lord Mayor, representatives of Invest Bristol & Bath and local businesses leaders, left on their China Trade Mission to Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai.

The mission took two years of planning and was the largest of its kind, providing our IoD South West members a unique and very valuable view of China at the time of the accession of Xi Jinping  Guangzhou capital of the Pearl River Delta ( The factory of the world) , Hangzhou ( Alibaba and digital development) and Shanghai (Banking). 

The mission was orchestrated and led by long standing member Richard Lowe, in collaboration with the Department of International Trade, Bristol & West of England China Bureau, CBBC, Invest Bristol & Bath, City of Bristol Council and HSBC. This pioneering mission was a catalyst which laid the foundations for growing interest and ongoing trade and business exchange between Bristol and the West of England and China.

As Bristol celebrates this 20th Year Anniversary with its China Sister City partner Guangzhou, join us as we reflect back on this mission and look ahead toward the future vision for trade, cultural and educational exchanges required to deepen economic links.

Hear from HSBC, China trade enthusiasts and Invest Bristol & Bath who will share their China journeys and roles in supporting regional exports and inward investment.

There will be an opportunity to pose questions with a panel of China trade exporters and experts to learn more about the market entry and the GBA Tech Eco-System.

Why attend?

IoD Members and local business leaders will learn about the future vision and plans for trading with China, regional research findings for trade development, opportunities for joining future China missions and how best to do business with China.  

Connect your region/nation with the UK and the Global Tech Advocates community.

This event 
will include lessons directly from business leaders who have attended trade delegations and are working directly with or in China.

Please Note: This event will be held online.  Links will be forwarded to all registered delegates 24 hours prior to the event.  Please do register your attendance using the BOOK TICKETS link provided at the bottom of this page (Tick to accept terms & conditions to take you through to registration).

Online delegates: 9am to 10.30am

Key details

Date & time: 21 Jan 2022 09:00 - 10:30
Location: Online, Online
CPD Hours:

Prices from

No Charge.

Event manager:
Ms Kerri-Anne Mruk
Contact phone:
Contact email:
[email protected]
Key Takeaways:
  • Connect with exporters and key stakeholders trading and supporting local businesses to trade with China
  • Develop export insight and knowledge for trading with China
  • Understand what it takes to do business with China and lessons from those directly working with partners and clients
  • Contextualise the key areas of focus for West of England and China trade development


James Savage CDir FCA - Chartered Director & IoD South West Tech Ambassador

James has over 30 years in the technology sector with asset management, professional services and industry experience. Substantial experience acting as an Independent Director on the boards of 10 technology companies from 2004. Based in Hong Kong from 1994 to 2018, extensive knowledge of the technology industry in the Asian region including India, Greater China, SE Asia, Korea and Japan. Founding Partner of HSBC's Asian Venture Capital business. Previously, Chairman of the Venture Committee of the Hong Kong Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. Fellow Chartered Accountant (ICAEW '94). The Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong Licensed Investment Represent.

Richard Lowe MIoD - MD Hewlett Rand

Richard Lowe is Managing Director of Hewlett Rand, a training and online learning consultancy based in Bristol. Hewlett Rand has delivered numerous training, eLearning and blended learning projects for both locally and internationally for world class brands.
He has over twenty-five years’ experience in the field of training and development, particularly in leadership, management and sales development and was the former Head of L&D for Unum, responsible for executive, management and talent development. He has practical front line leadership, senior management and over fifteen years company Director experience. Richard is qualified through the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and an NLP Master Practitioner.

Additionally, Richard is Board Director responsible for Business Initiatives of the Bristol and West of England China Bureau - whose mission is to connect the West of England with China. Over eight years, Richard has been leading collaboration in partnership with local government, businesses, trade associations, educational institutes and international trade bodies. He has led trade missions, organised trade events and cross border networking for forge ever closer relationships and commercial opportunities, as well as exporting his training services to the region.

James Shepherd -  Head of Corporate Banking | South West HSBC

James joined HSBC from University in 1994, during this time he has held positions across Retail, Credit & Risk, Leverage Finance, Corporate Banking and overseas. James is currently Head of Corporate Banking, South West leading a team across, Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon & Cornwall. In 2019, 2020 and 2021 the team have been recognised as “Bank of the Year” at the Insider South West Dealmaker awards.

Nicky Robertson - MD Mendip Media Visual Communications

Nicky Robertson is Managing Director of Mendip Media, a visual communications agency of 20 years specialising in visual content creation through video, animation and photography.

With a background in news journalism at the BBC where she worked as a TV reporter and documentary producer, Nicky founded Mendip Media in 2005 and has built a small, expert, in-house production team in her own 3000sqft creative film studio in Bristol.

Whilst having particular expertise in the food and construction sectors, Mendip Media’s portfolio of clients includes Invest Bristol and Bath, Into Somerset, DIT, EDF Nuclear New Build at HPC and SZC.

In 2012 Nicky was involved with the IoD’s historic Bristol and Bath delegation to Guangzhou to re-establish trading ties with its sister city.

The visit was a result of a deep interest in China and a long association with the Bristol and West of England China Bureau and sparked a collaboration with a Sino-English marketing agency in Bristol that has produced ground-breaking film and live streaming events for a global audience to further understanding of culture and business.

Dianne Francombe OBE - CEO Bristol & West of England China Bureau

Dianne is currently the Chief Executive of the Bristol & West of England China Bureau (China Bureau for short) a not-for-profit company working to develop strong and sustainable relationships between Bristol and the West of England in the UK and China especially the city of Guangzhou and the wider GBA area.   The organisation aims to develop business to business and educational partnerships and a shared mutual understanding of culture.

Dianne also supports the work of Bristol City Council by being their China Liaison Representative acting as an Ambassador to promote and develop links with China. 

Dianne has 30 years experience working with China at all levels and have developed influential links to Municipal Governments and a range of organisations to further an understanding of doing business in China and the intercultural differences between our two countries.  I also have significant experience working in the field of higher education both nationally and internationally. Dianne was awarded an OBE in the 2019 Queen Honours list for services to developing trade relationships with China.

Previously Dianne was a senior manager with considerable experience of the higher education sector gained over 35 years working at different levels within a University and with external organisations at home and overseas.

David Pinchard - Founder & MD Transformation

David is founder and managing director of , a UK based independent company, founded in 2000 specialising in helping Chairmen and Managing Directors lead successful organisational transformation. Classically large consultancies can be excellent in benchmarking and strategy thinking , but when it comes to successful’ transformation’ they can rather too often be ‘high risk ‘and expensive, especially if they fail.

Much of the culture and individuality of organisations, client history and relationships and ‘the brand’  already exist INSIDE organisations, it just requires a clear vision of what ‘success would look like’ and sourcing independent board experienced leadership help, in a disciplined process,  which is what we do. 

Clients  include Tata, Panasonic UK and Europe,  Flogas, Optimax, Ordnance Survey, Yeo Valley, The Stationary Office, Henley Business School, The Solicitors Regulator, The Crown Prosecution Service etc.

Simon Smith, Regional Director, Global Trade & Receivables Finance, HSBC UK

Simon has over 30 years’ experience in financial services with HSBC.  Over the past 6 years he has managed our Global Trade & Receivables Finance business across the South and Midlands.  In his current role he works closely with mid-market corporates, providing structured solutions to enable them to exploit international opportunities.  He is married with 2 children, lives in Hampshire and is a keen road cyclist.

Daisy Ip - Director, UK, Benelux and Ireland, Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC)

Daisy heads up the marketing and operational functions at the HKTDC’s London office, looking after the UK, Benelux and Ireland markets. She has been with HKTDC for the past ten years, working closely with stakeholders, trade associations and industry players to promote trade in all sectors between Hong Kong and the UK, Benelux and Ireland.

HKTDC promotes Hong Kong as a two-way investment and business hub. It is also a leading organiser on international trade fairs and conferences in Hong Kong, and of promotional events around the world. As a result of the global Covid 19 pandemic, many of these activities are currently undertaken in a virtual or hybrid format. The Council operates business matching services which put enquirers in touch with suppliers, customers and potential business partners in Hong Kong. HKTDC's economists supply the latest market intelligence about business opportunities in Hong Kong, the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere.

Ms Stephanie Poon - Business Development Executive, Invest Bristol & Bath

Stephanie is Business Dev Executive for Invest Bristol & Bath and is responsible for attracting and facilitating both domestic investment and foreign direct investment into the region.

During the challenging time in 2021, Stephanie has been engaging with the UK and international
businesses through various virtual events and activities. She mainly works with businesses in
Business & Professional Services, Technology and Creative industries.

Prior to joining Invest Bristol and Bath, Stephanie worked in other Government official agencies
including the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK) to
support the UK businesses in growing their businesses in Greater China and the key cities in Asia
Pacific. She was part of the pioneering team to work on the GREAT campaigns in Greater China for
DIT and to organise the European launch events for InvestHK in London.

Stephanie enjoys speaking with forward- thinking founders of start-ups & scaleups and likeminded
professionals from overseas in connecting them with the innovative ecosystem in Bristol and Bath.
She can speak both Cantonese and Mandarin.

Russ Shaw CBE - Founder, Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates

Russ originally founded Tech London Advocates in 2013 to ensure an independent voice of the technology community was heard, but with a focus on the private sector.

Since then he has been championing London as a global tech hub and campaigning to address some of the biggest challenges facing tech companies in the UK.

Global Tech Advocates, founded in 2015, is now present in 17 hubs around the globe, with over 12,000 members. In 2019 Russ launched the inaugural GTA Festival, taking place in China and bringing the international network together for the first time.

Russ was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List 2021 for services to technology and to business in London. He is a founding partner of London Tech Week, a London Tech Ambassador for the Mayor of London and Advisory Board member for Founders4Schools and the Government’s Digital Skills Partnership. In 2019, Russ was recognised as a 'Tech Titan' in the Evening Standard's Progress 1000 list of London's most influential people.

Andrew Davis - Head of Investment Promotion, Invest Hong Kong

Andrew Davis is Head of Investment Promotion, UK Office for Invest Hong Kong, the government department responsible for attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into Hong Kong.

Andrew joined Invest Hong Kong in February 2010 initially as Associate Director-General in the Hong Kong Head Office. He led the Tourism & Hospitality, Creative Industries, Consumer Products, Business & Professional Services and Transport & Industrial sector specialist teams. Projects, both big and small, that have recently come from these sectors include GE, Infiniti, Meijer, Constellation Brands, Pace and Harvey Nash. In mid 2015, he relocated to the UK to lead the UK Team.

Prior to joining Invest Hong Kong, Andrew worked in both investment promotion and trade development for International Business Wales and its predecessor the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) for more than 13 years in a number of different senior roles, including the Director of Trade & Investment London. He is an Asia-Pacific specialist, having spent much of his career in the region, including over 18 years in Hong Kong.

Before joining the WDA in 1996, Andrew worked predominantly in Asia Pacific with a financial services, procurement and consultancy agency, including postings in Papua New Guinea and Malaysia. At the WDA, Andrew had a number of roles including Executive Vice President Asia Pacific, Director of Strategic Accounts, and Vice President – ASEAN and Hong Kong.

Andrew was born in the United Kingdom and his hobbies include rugby, photography, genealogy, and music.


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