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Region Event

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

21 Jan 2022
Hybrid Event/HSBC South West, Bristol
The IoD Bristol & West of England China Trade Mission left for Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Shanghai on 10th -17th November 2012 accompanied by Bristol Lord Mayor, representative of Invest Bristol & Bath, IoD South West Members and local businesses leaders.

The mission was orchestrated and led by Richard Lowe, IoD Bristol Board Member with partners included 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 its 20th Year Anniversary with its China Sister City partner Guangzhou, we reflect back at how bilateral business relationships and trade development in and look ahead toward the future vision for trade, cultural and educational exchanges to deepen economic links.

Why attend?

South West 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.

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

The event will be face to face held in HSBC Bristol.  However, for those wishing to join us hybrid/online please do email below to request a link.

Key details

Date & time: 21 Jan 2022 09:00 - 11:30
Location: Hybrid Event/HSBC South West, Bristol
CPD Hours:

Prices from

No Charge.

Event manager:
Ms Kerri-Anne Mruk
Contact phone:
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

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 

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

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

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

David Pinchard 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.

The IoD SW China Mission in November 2012 took two years to plan , involved the City of Bristol accompanied by the Lord Mayor of Bristol  , Bristol is twinned with Guangzhou, and  was the largest of its kind and provided the 16 SW MD IoD delegates 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)     

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 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.



Prices from

No Charge.


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  • Hybrid Event/HSBC South West
  • 3 Temple Quay
  • Bristol
  • BS1 6DZ

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