Chinese-speaking students help UK firms

Chinese-speaking students from the University of Sheffield are to be placed with UK companies to help them break into the Chinese market

The University of Sheffield has been chosen to pilot a pioneering programme which is run by the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to provide valuable and cost-effective access to Chinese language, cultural and business knowledge. The University has one of the largest Chinese student populations in the UK as well as one of the largest and most established schools of East Asian Studies in the country.  

Lord Livingston, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, said: “China offers great opportunities for UK companies of all sizes, with growing demand for brand Britain. Chinese-speaking students can help UK businesses to overcome the linguistic and cultural barriers that could stand between them and the Chinese market. The UKTI can help with export ambitions in China and beyond.”

China was chosen as the target market for the pilot as the country’s import demand is expected to dwarf all the other emerging powers, rising by $3.4 trillion between 2010 and 2020. China is also expected to invest $1.25 trillion overseas in the next decade. China also has more students studying in the UK than any other overseas group, with more than 70,000 according to the most recent figures.

If successful, the scheme may be rolled out to other universities wishing to take part and trialled with other major non-EU international student groups such as those from India or Malaysia.

Interns will undertake a range of projects including: provide advice and support on Chinese business culture and etiquette; helping companies develop a Chinese version of their brand; and supporting company representatives on market visits to China. University of Sheffield graduate Jing Yun said: “This scheme will help me to develop my employability skills and intercultural communication. It will be a fantastic experience which can demonstrate that I am capable of working in a multinational environment.

“When I go back to China, I will be a Great Ambassador of the UK and contribute to the UK-China long-lasting business relationship. This experience will increase my credibility and teach me how to cope with a variety of issues in a real work environment.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sheffield Professor Paul White said: ‘I am delighted that the University of Sheffield has been chosen to be the host institution for the Great Ambassadors China pilot project and am looking forward to watching the scheme grow. The project will not only provide a wide range of long-term benefits for our students who will be getting the very best foundations to their future careers, but it will also have a lasting impact on the businesses involved.

‘This scheme gives our Chinese speaking students the unique opportunity to acquire valuable employability skills with innovative companies who are looking to
develop and expand their trade links with China.’

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