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Chinese Ambassador visits WMG

The Chinese Ambassador has seen for herself how leading-edge manufacturing in Coventry and Warwickshire is beating the economic downturn.

Madam Fu Ying visited Oleo International and WMG (formerly Warwick Manufacturing Group) on Friday (27 November) as part of a nationwide tour organised by UK Trade & Investment to see examples of British manufacturing excellence.

Oleo International, of Exhall, Coventry, has been designing and manufacturing energy absorption technologies across a wide range of industries for more than 60 years.

The company has traded with China for many years and has had a physical presence in the market since 2004, first with a representative office and then in 2006 with its own factory in Songjiang near Shanghai.

Many of its major customers are in China and recent projects carried out by Oleo in the market include:

  • Railway end stops in the Beijing Olympic village railway station and on the Shanghai high speed Maglev airport link;
  • Elevator buffers in the three tallest buildings in Shanghai - the Pearl TV tower, the Jin Mao tower and the World Financial Centre tower;
  • Train coupler capsules on the high speed Beijing to Tianjin express; and
  • Buffers installed on dock cranes made in Shanghai.

Edward Stroud, general manager of Oleo Buffers (Shanghai) Company, said: “In view of the strong trading and manufacturing relationship that Oleo has had with China for many years, we were delighted to welcome the Chinese Ambassador, Madam Fu Ying, to our factory.

“We see China as a key market for the future. We will continue to invest in technology and manufacturing both in the UK and at our Shanghai factory to support all our product market sectors.

“The continuing development of relationships at Government and industry level is very important to our expanding business in the market.”

WMG is an academic multi-disciplinary unit at the University of Warwick and was established by Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in 1980 to reinvigorate British manufacturing through the application of cutting-edge research and knowledge transfer.

Starting with one office, the Professor and his secretary, the group has grown into a global force to be reckoned with. It now employs more than 300 full-time staff with a further 150 associates, who are all dedicated to developing innovative research projects and sharing their expertise with a wide range of businesses and individuals through collaboration, knowledge transfer schemes, postgraduate study and bespoke executive training. WMG has just been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in recognition of its sustained contribution to global education in manufacturing.

WMG’s research innovations are exploited widely in sectors including automotive, aerospace, construction, ICT and increasingly in healthcare. The Chinese Ambassador viewed a range of research activity, including the WorldF3rst racing car, the first Formula 3 racing car designed and made from sustainable and renewable materials, which was recently highlighted by TIME Magazine as one of the 50 best inventions of the year.

WMG runs teaching and research centres in the UK, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and provides expert advice to many overseas governments and companies. Over 24,000 individuals from companies in the UK and internationally, including over 2,000 in China, have been involved in WMG’s education programmes.

Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya said: “I was delighted to see the Ambassador’s keen interest in science and technology and to hear her comments about the two countries working together in this important area.”

Doug Mahoney, UK Trade & Investment’s International Trade Director for the West Midlands, said: “I was very pleased to welcome Madame Fu Ying to our region and showcase the best of British manufacturing in Coventry and Warwickshire.

“China is a hugely important business partner for the UK. Despite the present economic downturn, its economy is continuing to expand and develop, with the result that the demand for energy resources, infrastructure, technology and goods and services is still growing very rapidly.”

Madame Fu Ying said: “I am very impressed by Oleo International’s success in China and the pioneering work that is being carried out by WMG. It was a pleasure to meet the teams at both organisations and I am sure their relationships with Chinese customers will continue to go from strength to strength.

“I look forward to visiting Coventry and Warwickshire again soon.”