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Business & Economy

North East hailed as ‘gateway’ in UK’s growing relationship with China

The North East has been hailed as a “gateway” in the fast-developing business relationship between the UK and China by the world’s largest science park operator, which chose Newcastle as the base for its first accelerator outside of its native Asia.

TusStar, operators of the business incubator TusPark brand, has more than 200 worldwide presences and is regarded as one of the leading names globally in supporting high-growth businesses.

Since its foundation in 2001, TusStar has incubated over 6,000 businesses, of which 70 are now listed, 49 have ‘diamond company’ status and 45 have ‘golden seed’ projects.

TusStar – which takes its name from its links with Tsinghua University (TUS) – is based in the North East of China and enables UK startups to access the Chinese market through its unique innovation ecosystem.

A senior delegation recently visited its TusPark Newcastle Eagle Labs operation, which has already established a reputation as one of the region’s leading business spaces since being opened in late 2017 as the company’s first operation of its kind outside of China.

It relaunched late last year through a partnership with Barclays Eagle Lad, which is now part of the largest UK-China innovation network.

During their visit, senior TusStar figures spoke of how impressed they are with Newcastle and the North East, and how they see the region as playing a key role in strengthening and growing the business relationship between the UK and China.

Wei Han, vice president of TusStar, said: “Newcastle is a central part of TusStar, it is a very important place for us, as is the wider UK. We see Newcastle and this region as being a gateway between the UK and China. It is a place which can play a central role in our mission of helping startups as well as developing whole industries.

“We have strong links with companies worldwide and want to share those with our businesses and develop them further. We see there are many opportunities for us to work very closely together.”

Vice president Liu Bo added: “The North East of China is a region with a heritage in coal mining, just like the North East of England. We feel very warmly welcomed here and that we have so much in common. TusStar can help support the growth of the businesses in TusPark and the North East as a region into the future.”

Colin Tan, head of TusPark Newcastle Eagle Labs, said he is delighted with the progress of the incubator space since it launched and at the levels of close co-operation and support from TusStar.

“We opened TusPark Newcastle to help grow the friendship between the UK and China, as well as the business opportunities, and we have seen very strong progress. It was an honour to welcome the TusStar delegation and to show what we are doing here in the fantastic North East region, and they are very impressed with what they’ve seen.

“There are many opportunities in China and globally for the businesses we work with, those who are growing and scaling up, and there is support from us and from TusStar in enabling that to happen.”