The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 1 February 2013

Elite Ayrshire Business Circle executive chairman Norman Geddes reports successful visit to China

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.”

A complete set of photographs taken on the trip to China is available on Flickr. CLICK HERE and then click on any thumbnail image to view larger versions.

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