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Guernsey Underlines Its Commitment To China

by Carla Johnson, Investors, London

13 November 2007

It has been announced this week that Guernsey is to have an official representative based permanently in China.

Chinese national Wendy Weng will take up the post from the start of December. She will be working for GuernseyFinance – the promotional agency for the Island’s finance industry – and be based in Shanghai.

“There is intense competition to win business in emerging markets such as China. Our experience is that jurisdictions that only visit China once or twice a year are regarded as being ‘here today and gone tomorrow’. That means that you can soon be forgotten, particularly in the Far East where huge importance is placed on long-term relationships,” explained Peter Niven, Chief Executive of GuernseyFinance.

He continued: “Therefore not only have we spent time analysing the opportunities and building contacts but we are now establishing a continuing presence in China."

"This underlines our commitment to the country and at the same time provides us with a platform to directly promote Guernsey to business leaders and within appropriate government circles so that in the future our finance industry can benefit from increased business flows from the Chinese market.”

The initiative is being facilitated by the China-Britain Business Council (CBBC), an organisation designed to assist British companies in conducting business in China. It offers practical services to many different types of firms, whether they are already established or just starting out in the country.

GuernseyFinance is using CBBC’s Launchpad scheme. Many non-Chinese companies want to quickly set up a base in the country but without having the time and expense of establishing a full representative office. However, under current regulations, foreign companies are unable to employ Chinese staff legally, unless the company is registered in China. Through Launchpad, a British company can recruit an individual of their choice but whilst he or she works on its behalf, they are employed by CBBC and operate from one of its Chinese offices.

“Launchpad is an efficient and effective means of creating a platform in China and we see it, as I believe so have many of the previous users of this scheme, as the first step to establishing our own representative office in the country,” observed Mr Niven, continuing:

“I would also add that we are very pleased indeed to be appointing Wendy whose quality stands out both on paper and in person. We welcome her to the team and have every confidence in her ability to assist us in developing yet another success story for Guernsey’s finance industry.”

Mrs Weng, 28, was educated at university in Shanghai before gaining a degree in Accounting and Finance from Lancaster University. She has since worked as Government Affairs Executive for Hymall-Tesco and joins from being Business Development Manager for the regional economic development agency, One Northeast.

Work has already started, and will continue, on developing Guernsey branding specifically for the Chinese market, including creating a Chinese version of the GuernseyFinance website.

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