HRH Prince Andrew, Sir David Tang KBE and UK - China Business at the British Library


Wednesday, 08 October, 2008

Content Was this 8th day of October, 2008 another auspicious date for the Chinese? I mean October is as close as you'll get to any month resembling an 8 limbed animal.

It was this day nevertheless, that hosted a morning "Chinese" business event at the British Library titled 'Facing the Challenges - What lies ahead for the future of leaders and entrepreneurs of the UK and China'.

The British Library is a nice, cerebral enough place but I guess what got me out of bed was the significance given to this event by the presence of HRH Prince Andrew, The Duke of York, and Sir David Tang KBE.

David Tang began the show with his introduction around the theme of business and the UK - China relationship, making some head nodding points amidst his jovial banter. He then introduced The Duke, who proceeded with his speech on the development and future of aspects of business between the UK and China and how the UK is well placed for developing a successful relationship with the growing economy of the East.

I won't even begin discussing any of the points made - I just don't have the authoritative background on business, especially the wider context of global business. But I did pick up on one point Prince Andrew made about the Olympics - that "the UK won't compete with China and that it will do its own thing".

I don't have anything against London wanting to put on a good show and hope that this city that I was born in creates an excellent Olympics. But in the aftermath of China-bashing that happened when the focus was on the Beijing Olympics, I was getting sick of hearing people like the (current) Major Boris Johnson trying to step up to China by declaring that London will deliver a Games that is "just as fantastic, just as memorable" as the Beijing Olympics. Now its "2012 to be 'cosier' than Beijing" which is more like it.

Anyway, back to The Duke. An honest and realistic quip about what London's 2012 will entail? I hope so. Even without a Masters in business, to me it seemed the speech and the subsequent Q&A between the audience and Prince Andrew / David Tang didn't convey a massive knowledge of business.

As Britain's ambassador for trade, I would have expected more from The Duke. A chance to flourish expert and indepth advice and to demonstrate a sound understanding of the system perhaps.

However, I was probably expecting too much. You can't solve the world's problems with single events like this, and I guess you can't fault David Tang for bringing together royalty and the Chinese / China business community either. At the very least, it pushes UK Chinese interests up a notch.

What did the audience think? In the post-presentation drink and canapés, I didn't manage to speak to everyone there of course, but of those I did, not once did we discuss what the whole event was about. Silly me, what could I expect when this was a chance to catch up with friends and people I knew in the Chinese community.


East Asian Culture. Events.

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