Attendees at the inaugural event included Madame Li Xiaolin, President of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, civic leaders from a number of Chinese provinces and regional leaders from the Northern Powerhouse.
It was organised by the Foreign Office and supported by Sheffield City Council, to strengthen partnerships between the UK and China with the aim of encouraging collaboration on new technologies to generate jobs and wealth through increased exports and investment.
Sheffield City Hall’s Memorial Hall hosted the main plenary, the Leader’s Open Table Session took place in the South Hall and lunch was served in the City Hall Ballroom.
The Business delegation was hosted by Creative Sheffield, Sheffield City Region LEP and China-Britain Business Council (CBBC) throughout the day in the Memorial Hall.
Dominic Stokes, general manager of SIV Events – the events arm of SIV, said: “It was an honour to host the inaugural Regional Leaders Exchange at Sheffield City Hall. The feedback we’ve received has been really positive and we’re delighted that the Exchange was such a huge success.
“Sheffield City Hall was chosen due to its location in the heart of the city, the flexibility of its conference and event space and its reputation for hosting high profile international events and delivering exceptional catering and customer service.”
The Exchange provided a platform for delegates to discuss local development strategies, coordinated regional development, existing links between the UK and China and opportunities for collaboration.
Representatives from both countries spoke about common issues facing cities including funding, transport, healthcare and climate change.
Councillor Leigh Bramall, deputy leader and cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council said: “This event has given Sheffield the chance to showcase the city to key city leaders in China.
“It should not be underestimated how important these personal contacts with such a strong economic market can be to Sheffield and I hope this visit was just the start of a long and valuable relationship with China.”
Paul Fisher, from TCA Ltd, which supported the Foreign Office on the event, said: “The Sheffield City Hall was a fantastic venue for the first UK-China Regional Leaders Exchange.
“The flexibility, professionalism and enthusiasm of the City Hall team, combined with the venue’s first-class catering played an important part in the success of this high-profile event.”