Leeds City Region meets Qingdao’s top Tech firms and showcases to an audience of over three million

Leeds City Region represented the UK at the China-UK Local Economic and Trade Forum in Qingdao, presenting to an audience of top Government and business representatives. The visit also included meetings at the headquarters of two of China’s largest businesses, Hisense and Haier.

A Leeds City Region delegation visited Qingdao in December 2019 Qingdao is a major city located on the east cost of China and is an important city in the Belt and Road initiative with a GDP of 1.2 trillion yuan (£132.7 billion).


The delegation presented at the 2019 China-UK Local Economic and Trade Cooperation Qingdao Forum, with an audience of over 150 people. The event was featured on the Qingdao news, viewed by an audience of over 3 million people.


The delegation received 12 pieces of coverage in the Chinese press, including: China Daily, Phoenix New Media, and China’s Ministry of Commerce.


There are strong links developing between Leeds City Region and Qingdao, especially in the Creative, Media and Digital sector, thanks to the UNESCO City of Film links. In 2017, Bradford City of Film launched an office in Qingdao, after supporting Qingdao in its successful bid to also become a UNESCO City of Film. Qingdao has also opened a film office in Bradford. These offices will develop co-production projects between UK and Chinese filmmakers, opening up a range of incentives to accelerate film development and Sino-British cultural exchange.

The University of Bradford also has a joint Film Animation degree with Qingdao University of Science and Technology. The first group of 50 students started the course in September 2019.

The delegation met with Lingshan Bay Administration of Film and Television. This world-class large-scale film and television industry base is able to film and produce 100 domestic and foreign film and television every year.

The delegation also met with the headquarters of two of the largest technology manufacturers in the world, Hisense and Haier.


A major international technology company which employs over 80,000 people worldwide, manufacturing high quality TVs and white goods, as well as creating innovative smart city solutions. Leeds is home to the UK Headquarters of Hisense. Hisense UK has enjoyed incredible growth from their Leeds base, and are regularly ranked as one of the fastest growing businesses in Yorkshire and the UK. Their turnover has increased from £1.5million in 2012, to well over £100million, this year achieving 30% year on year growth. It was great to celebrate this success with the global headquarters in Qingdao.

A very interesting discussion took place around Smart Cities and Smart Transportation technologies, exploring potential collaboration opportunities with the Leeds City Region Mass Transit consultation project.


The delegation visited the home of Haier Industries. Haier has ranked first globally in home appliances for 10 consecutive years and has a $39.1 billion USD global turnover.

Since its creation in 1984, the company has been run by the same CEO, Zhang Ruimin, who Forbes and Fortune claim to be one of the world’s greatest business leaders alongside Steve Jobs.

Haier now have seven brands covering the global home appliance market, following the recent acquisitions of GE Electrics and Candy (Hoover).

The delegation was very interested to learn about the history of such an internationally focussed company, and discussed opportunities for R&D collaborations with City Region universities and European expansion activity.