Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng visited Birmingham City University on Friday to be shown the site where high speed trains will be arriving in to the Second City from 2026.
The University’s fast-developing campus offered the Minister the best possible view of the proposed HS2 terminal, including the Grade I listed entrance building to the original Curzon Street railway station – the world’s oldest surviving piece of monumental railway architecture.
The Minister was accompanied by UK Trade and Investment Minister Lord Maude. They heard presentations about the University and the City of Birmingham’s economic growth by the University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cliff Allan, and Andy Street, Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) respectively.
The visit forms part of the Chinese Minister’s UK tour, where he is exploring the enterprises found in the Midlands region and potential investment opportunities.
UK Trade and Investment Minister Lord Maude said:
“The Midlands is home to some of the most innovative and exciting companies and universities in the country, and we are keen to get more investment into the region to boost jobs and growth for the Midlands Engine.”
The Midlands Engine is worth £222 billion each year to the UK economy and if the region matches the predicted growth rate for the UK over the next 15 years, it could create 300,000 jobs and boost the national economy by £34 billion.
Professor Cliff Allan, Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham City University, gave strong support to the Midlands Engine, highlighting his institution’s contribution to the regional economy.
“We were delighted to welcome Minister Gao and Lord Maude to our City Centre Campus, to show how Birmingham City University is transforming the Eastside area of Birmingham.
“Birmingham as a city is constantly reinventing itself and with the arrival of HS2, the area around our City Centre Campus is set to emerge as an internationally-important focus of transport and education.
“We are proud of our close educational links with China. We currently have 800 Chinese students enriching our campus communities here in the UK and our partnership with Wuhan Textiles University will see the Birmingham Institute for Fashion and Creative Arts opening in China in September 2016.”
Students from Birmingham City University were on hand to welcome Minister Gao and his delegation during the visit, which was hosted in the institution’s new £63 million Curzon building.
Qing Qing Yang from China is studying on the University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) course and was delighted to meet the Minister and learn more about the UK High Speed Rail network, High Speed Two (HS2). She said:
‘HS2 is very good for the future of Birmingham. As an international student this could open up unique opportunities, with the chance of internships after graduation.
‘I’m excited about the plans for HS2 because it’s will also mean a world-class railway station will be situated right next to the University’s City Centre Campus.’