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Published: 4th May 2012 08:32


China's biggest publishing company, Phoenix Publishing & Media Group, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Essex County Council to set up its UK Headquarters in Essex. The UK company will deal with printing, copyright trading and publishing businesses and plans to create up to eight new jobs in the county, with more expected as the company grows.


The deal was signed at the Foreign Office building between Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and the Chairman of Phoenix Group, Mr Chen Haiyan and was witnessed by William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary and Mr Li Changchun, Member of China's Politburo Standing Committee.


Phoenix Publishing and Media Group is engaged in six business sectors - publishing, book distribution, printing, hotel, real estate, and finance - and its annual sales income amounts to £1.2 billion. In China the company has 11,000 employees and 34 affiliated units.


Councillor Bentley commented: "I was delighted to sign the MOU with Mr Haiyan who told us that the relationship that Essex County Council has had with Jiangsu over 24 years was a decisive factor in Phoenix choosing Essex for its investment. This is the beginning of a long and prosperous partnership between Phoenix and Essex and I look forward to the opening of their offices here."  


The signing follows a trade mission to China at the end of March, led by Cllr Bentley, which included a visit to Phoenix Publishing's headquarters in Nanjing in Jiangsu Province.  The trade mission was also promoting inward investment opportunities in the East of England offshore wind industry and included a conference attended by around 200 professionals in the Chinese offshore wind sector.  Representatives from Essex County Council as well as seven local SMEs participated in a trip to China, visiting the cities of Nanjing, Wuxi, Shanghai and Kunshan during a five day visit. The concentrated programme of activity was a mixture of meetings with 11 targeted offshore wind businesses, an inward investment conference organised by the Council attended by around 200 business people, as well meetings with senior government officials in key departments responsible for Jiangsu Provincial energy policy, outward investment, trade and economic development. The week-long programme was delivered in close cooperation with the Jiangsu Provincial People's Government through links created by Essex County Council 24 years ago.


In addition to securing the Phoenix investment and generating interest in opportunities in the offshore wind industry, Cllr Bentley also obtained the agreement of Jiangsu officials to send more civil servants for training in the University of Essex over the next 2-3 years.  This builds on the two successful programmes brought to the university by Essex County Council in the autumn of 2011.  These fee-paying short courses are a significant new export for the university.


Mr Haiyan, Chairman of Phoenix Publishing commented: "This is a great day for Phoenix as we sign this MOU. We were extremely impressed with the information presented to us by Essex County Council and what the County of Essex could offer our company. I am delighted to be basing our UK Head Office in Essex and look forward to viewing new premises and making our way over here."


Phoenix, which also has businesses in the travel and real estate sectors, is also discussing with the County Council other opportunities to bring more tourists and businesses to Essex.


Councillor Bentley said, "Essex welcomes Phoenix Publishing to the County and we are now in the process of selecting suitable locations for their offices and warehouse. The county can now look forward to an increase in job opportunities and we can add another major international company to our portfolio of businesses that have chosen to locate their offices in Essex".

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