AYRSHIRE, SCOTLAND, February 04, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman and Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors managing partner Norman Geddes has returned from a week-long visit to China, and reports that the trip was both enjoyable and beneficial.
The visit was at the invitation of Mr and Mrs Michael Zhou and mineral water bottling and distribution company Ganten, who recently purchased Blairquhan Castle in South Ayrshire.
Also on the trip were Norman's wife Katrina and daughter Clare, former Blairquhan Castle owners Sir Patrick and Lady Hunter Blair and members of their family, and Ayrshire business couple Jim and Meiqin McColm.
The objective of the visit was to further promote business and cultural links between China and Ayrshire.
The visiting party stayed in Shenzhen, a major city in the south of Southern China's Guangdong Province, situated immediately north of Hong Kong. The area became China's first - and one of the most successful - Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
Both Chinese and foreign nationals have invested enormous amounts of money in the Shenzhen SEZ. More than US$30 billion in foreign investment has gone into both foreign-owned and joint ventures, at first mainly in manufacturing but more recently in the service industries as well. Shenzhen is now considered one of the fastest growing cities in the world.
Being southern mainland China's major financial centre, Shenzhen is home to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange as well as the headquarters of numerous high-tech companies. Shenzhen is also one of the busiest container ports in China.
Whilst in Shenzhen, the visitors from Ayrshire stayed in the city's splendid Venice Hotel.
The highlight of the week was undoubtedly the visit to the Ganten mineral water bottling factory in Shenzhen, which the party found to be most impressive. They were warmly welcomed by the management and staff and enjoyed a tour of the factory followed by a presentation and hospitality.
Ganten has eight production units around China, with two more scheduled to open this year. Michael Zhou himself conceives the design of the factories which reflect aspects of Chinese culture. The factories are surrounded by parkland and gardens to reflect their sympathy for the environment.
The newest factory recently opened produces 20 bottles per second in a 24 hour production process contained within a totally sealed area to avoid contamination.
At the time of the purchase of Blairquhan Castle, Michael Zhou stated: "It is the wish of Ganten to bring together the cultures of China and Scotland, by encouraging even greater tourist opportunities to the ever-growing affluent Chinese market.
"Ganten wish to become a pioneering, China-based organisation who shall bring to Scotland a sound and innovative platform for mutually beneficial tourist, cultural and commercial ventures."
Norman Geddes concluded: "All members of the visiting party to China would like to thank Mr and Mrs Zhou for their magnificent hospitality.
"Ganten is a dynamic and progressive company whose presence in Ayrshire will be of great benefit to the local economy for many years to come.
"The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle will continue to do everything that it can to further foster, nurture and develop cultural and business relationships between China and Ayrshire."
Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and China
Since the beginning of the current challenging economic climate, the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle has been constantly advising and encouraging its members to seek out new business opportunities in regions of the world that are still managing to achieve continuing economic growth - notably China.
In October 2011, the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle in conjunction with South Ayrshire Council held a special meeting entitled "Encouraging Trade and Business between Ayrshire and China".
The meeting was attended by Chinese Consul-General in Edinburgh Li Ruiyou, Consul Mr Wan Degang, and Deputy Consul Miss Zhu Hongying.
Building upon these initial contacts, to further promote business and trade between Ayrshire and China, the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle arranged a meeting between the Chinese Consul-General in Scotland Mr Li Ruiyou, Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond and John Scott MSP for Ayr at the Coral Scottish Grand National Festival at Ayr Racecourse in April this year.
Most recently, in September South Ayrshire Council Leader Bill McIntosh and Provost Helen Moodie welcomed ten senior business executives from China to the County Buildings in Ayr, when they attended an Elite Ayrshire Business Circle meeting.
Members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle had asked Councillor McIntosh to facilitate a presentation by South Ayrshire Council to tell the visitors about South Ayrshire. It was an ideal opportunity to highlight some important potential areas of investment opportunity - tourism, renewable energies, engineering, property and infrastructure.
Councillor McIntosh said: "South Ayrshire offers some fantastic opportunities, and we were delighted to welcome the high-level trade and investment delegation.
"In the current economic climate it is more important than ever that as a Council we do all that we can to facilitate new investment and long-term jobs to the area.
"We are delighted to work with members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle to promote the businesses and people of South Ayrshire around the globe."
Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes concluded: "The members of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle span many areas of knowledge and capability, and we are delighted to be able to use our connections around the globe for the benefit of Ayrshire as a whole.
"Our members Jim and Meiqin McColm have played and continue to play an integral part in our efforts to further business between Ayrshire and China, for which we offer them our thanks and appreciation."
THE ELITE AYRSHIRE BUSINESS CIRCLE
The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle is an association founded in 2007 by some of the top companies in Ayrshire.
Its purpose is to publicise its members, and to celebrate and promote the wealth and rich diversity of entrepreneurial talent and business excellence that abounds here within the county boundaries of Ayrshire.
Members include the Clydesdale Bank, Ayr Racecourse, Western House Hotel, Turnberry Golf Resort and South Ayrshire Council. Member company activities include broadcasting, building and construction, architectural practice, estate agency and land management, chartered accountancy, insurance broking, legal services, golf club management, marketing services and brand creation, web design and public relations consultancy.
Frazer Coogans Commercial Solicitors senior partner Norman Geddes is executive chairman of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle, and managing director is public relations consultancy Fame Publicity Services proprietor Murdoch MacDonald.
For further information about The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle and to apply for membership, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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