LIVERPOOL, Britain, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The first of 30,000 business delegates from around the world gather Monday in Liverpool for the start of the world's biggest business gathering, the International Festival of Business.
It seemed fitting that on the opening day host city Liverpool and its twinned city of Shanghai, would take center stage.
One of the major events on day one at the impressive exhibition center on the banks of the River Mersey was Invest Shanghai/Invest Liverpool.
It was a two-way event reflecting the bilateral links between the two cities, consolidated by the recent signing of a MOU on future cooperation and exchanges.
Around 100 overseas delegations will be attending the three-week festival, including a quarter, or 25 delegations from China.
The event has the full backing of the British government and its international trading arm, UKTI, reflected by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne attending Monday's opening ceremony.
In his welcoming speech he hailed the recently launched direct flight between Manchester and Beijing as important for the success of the Northern Powerhouse initiative, aimed at boosting the economies of northern cities such as Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds.
The Shanghai delegation, led by Zong Yuyan, vice president of Invest Shanghai, included representatives from Putuo District and Songjiang.
Ms Zong told Xinhua: "We are delighted to be in our sister city, Liverpool for this event. We see it as a win-win for both sides, giving us the opportunity to help people wanting to do business with Shanghai and also helping Chinese businesses wanting to do business in Britain."
Also attending the opening day was a delegation from Tianjin who held a number of business contact meetings during the day.
Liverpool Deputy Mayor Gary Millar, the city's official China trade envoy said: "It is great to see high ranking delegations from both Shanghai and Tianjin on the opening day of the IFB. Liverpool and its friends in China have worked hard to further cooperation over the past few years, and those links are now gaining fruit."
The IFB is a leading global showcase of British industries and sectors in a generation, providing a platform for business leaders, established giants of British industry, entrepreneurs of high-growth businesses and unsung heroes of SMEs.
The event has three themed weeks, focusing on advanced manufacturing, energy and environment, and creative/digital. Sitting at the centre of the festival at ECL and acting as a backdrop to the wide variety of events and activities is the GREAT British Showcase, an experiential selection of the best in British design, innovation and creativity.
IFB chairman Max Steinberg said it was expected business deals worth at least 400 million U.S. dollars are expected to be brokered during the festival. Enditem