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Official opening at Creative Exchange

Edinburgh incubator welcomes Shenzhen companies

Shenzhen openingA delegation of dignitaries and company representatives from Shenzhen in China were welcomed to Edinburgh tonight for the opening of an incubator initiative supported by the two cities.

The launch of the Edinburgh centre at the Creative Exchange in Leith followed the establishment in May of a similar operation in Shenzhen where six Scottish companies have taken workspace.

Four Shenzhen companies have confirmed occupancy in Leith and six more are considering investing in the facility in Constitution Street.

Vice Mayor of Shenzhen Madam Wu Yihuan attended the launch and told guests that the incubator in Shenzhen had already produced some good results.

Shenzhen is a giant of a city whose most famous son is the international pianist Lang Lang. In just 35 years it has been turned from a small fishing port into an ultra-modern city of 15 million people – three times the population of Scotland – with an eye-watering annual GDP of $260 billion.

Asked afterwards to confirm that she said BILLION, the translator said: “Yes, that’s right. Is that a lot?”

It has been identified as a target market for investment into Edinburgh’s creative industry and the two cities signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide incubation space in each of the cities. It will help to stimulate investment, growth and new market opportunities.

Lord Provost, Donald Wilson, who visited Shenzhen for the reciprocal launch, said: “The opening of the extension of Creative Exchange marks the culmination of years of collaboration between the City of Edinburgh Council and Shenzhen Municipal Government.

“This work has also been supported by the Scottish Government and it delivers on a number of objectives set out in their China Plan and Economic strategy through enhanced cultural collaboration and increased exchanges between both nations.”

Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf told guests that the Scottish government had encouraged trade between Scotland and China, and since 2007 exports had risen by 118%.

“This is a significant collaboration between Edinburgh city council and the Municipal Government of Shenzhen,” he said.

“It combines the considerable strengths of both partners in the field of cultural and creative industries and provides support for both Chinese and Scottish SMEs to understand  the markets, opportunities and challenges while developing networks in both countries. We value Scotland’s important relationship with China and I’m delighted to support this venture,” he said.

A number of Edinburgh based creative and tech companies have committed to taking desk space there, including IndigoVision and Runrev.

Photo: The Shenzhen delegation join Humza Yousaf in pressing a button to launch the incubator (by Terry Murden)

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