The Confucius Institute won the China Collaboration category at the China Business Awards – held at the end of the two-day Horasis China Meeting, which welcomed more than 300 Chinese business people to the city.
Established in 2007, the Sheffield Confucius Institute is a partnership between the University of Sheffield, Nanjing University and Beijing Language and Culture University.
It serves to act as a focal point for all China-related activities in Sheffield and the broader region and has a particular focus on promoting the Chinese language within schools, businesses and public sector bodies.
The Sheffield Confucius Institute is seen as one of the UK’s leading centres of China and UK collaboration.
It has twice won global Confucius Institute of the Year (2010, 2015), been named a ‘Model Confucius Institute’ in 2014, facilitated trade delegations between Sheffield and China, hosted cultural events, and helped to introduce new China-focused programmes for students at the University of Sheffield.
Keith Burnett, president and vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield and Chair of Sheffield Confucius Institute said: “I am delighted for the hard-working staff of the Sheffield Confucius Institute and its Director Dr Lucy Zhao that the Sheffield City Region and Horasis have acknowledged their enormous efforts to support business and cultural activities with China.
“The Sheffield Confucius Institute has very deliberately targeted the crucial area of industry and trade, supporting advanced manufacturing collaboration between the Sheffield region and the world’s most significant developing nation of over 1.3 billion people.
“In the process we are not only helping create links in areas of innovation and trade, but making opportunities for young people in the UK and China. That our region has expressed its respect and thanks for this work is important and I know this special award highlighting our partnership with China will be encouraging to all involved.”
The Horasis China Meeting, ‘China and the World Economic Outlook 2017’, brought together heads of government, ministers and influential investors from across the globe to investigate sustainable business practices, innovation and collaborations to build vibrant economies.
Sheffield is currently the centre of the biggest Chinese investment in the UK outside London.
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, which works closely with Sheffield Confucius Institute, said: “Sheffield Chamber has a long and close working relationship with the Confucius Institute and we are delighted to see them get this award.
“We are absolutely convinced that the UK will need a growing trade relationship with China in the coming years and the Institute has been really helpful in supporting us to encourage businesses to do just that.”
The prizes were presented by Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.
He said: “I was delighted to present these awards tonight, to very worthy recipients who are a credit to their respective fields. Here in Sheffield City Region we have shared heritage, resilience and learning with China and these awards are further testament to that.”
“It was a pleasure to pay tribute to the success of these city region companies at the culmination of the extremely successful Horasis China Meeting.
“Bringing the event here to Sheffield has been a huge accolade for the city region and further proof of our ‘let’s get it done’ work-ethic, which harnesses drive and ambition,” he added.