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Great Britain in Kunming schedule of events

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Beginning April 14, Kunming will host a series of events sponsored by the British Consulate General and the British Council. The week-long affair, Great Britain in Kunming, is a showcase of all things UK. Events include cultural functions such as photography exhibitions and literary salons, as well as business roundtables, a green car design contest and many others.

GoKunming recently spoke at length with Tina Redshaw, British Consul-General in Chongqing, about Great Britain in Kunming. She characterized the collection of public and private events being put on in the Spring City thusly:

Although there are a handful of British companies and Britons in Kunming, I think Kunming and Yunnan generally haven't got many links with the UK. So our desire to put this on is very much to introduce ourselves to the people of Kunming, and more broadly to people across the province.

Many of the events listed below are by invitation only — attendance and participation require prior arrangement. If you would like to take part in a particular function, please contact Great Britain in Kunming organizers:

Anny Liang
Regional Affairs Officer (Yunnan, Guizhou)
Telephone: +86 23 63691507
Email: Anny[dot]Liang[at]fco[dot]gov[dot]uk


British Consulate General Chongqing
Telephone: +86 23 63691500
Email: BritishCounsulate[dot]Chongqing[at]fco[dot]gov[dot]uk

Schedule of events

Monday, April 14

14:00-17:00: Willis Insurance Financing Service Workshop (invitation only)

Tuesday, April 15

10:00-12:30: China-UK Science Partnership Workshop (invitation only)

14:30-15:30: Great Britain in Kunming Opening Ceremony (fully booked)

18:00-20:30: Great Britain in Kunming Reception (fully booked)

Wednesday, April 16

9:00-12:30: Invest UK Workshop (invitation only)

14:30-17:00: UK Tourism Salon (invitation only)

18:30-21:00: Social Entrepreneurship Salon (open to the public)

Thursday, April 17

9:30-11:30: Official Visit to Yunnan University affiliated school (invitation only)

20:00-21:30: British Whisky Night (invitation only)

Friday, April 18

All day event: Meet British characters in Kunming (open to the public)

18:30-20:30: British Cheese and Wine Tasting (invitation only)

Saturday, April 19

14:00-16:00: UK Alumni Career Development Workshop (invitation only)

20:00-24:00: Music is GREAT, British Music Night (open to the public)

Ongoing events

April 14-20: Classic British Culinary Delights (open to the public)

April 15-20: Jolie Luo's UK Photo Memoirs Exhibition (open to the public)

April 15-20: UK-China New Energy Car Design Exhibition (open to the public)

April 15-20: UK Luxury Brands Retail Display (open to the public)

April 15-May 14: Joseph Needham Photo Exhibition (open to the public)

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It's typical of the chinless wonders in the UK foreign service that almost all the events are by invitation only or "fully booked".

Ha. Had the exact same thought, cloud. How very British of them. What a joke.

Invitation only usually means that you need to ask for an invitation. If you are seen as being able to make a useful contribution, or you can show a specific interest in the topic, you will get an invitation.
I have been to events that are flooded with people just handing out business cards, for anything. I have even ejected carpet and curtain salesmen from HR events.

The fully booked will probably be by local officials who don't want to miss out. The reception is usually dinner.

That last comment was a bit unfair. There will be local officials who have to be seen there.

Think of this more as a conference, and trade event, with some public exhibits on the side, and less as an exhibition open to the public.

I'm looking forward to 'Classic British Culinary Delights' It's been way too long! Four years too long!
I hope they haven't been China-fied!

Will be going to the 'Classic British Culinary Delights' one night to and was thinking the same, please be done as it should!!!
Will be a very happy man if they manage that if not will be in a proper bad mood for getting my hopes up of a little home cooking lol

Can only hope :o)

I was kind of hoping for a response from the British consulate. Why are these events invitation only and, since they are, why advertise them on a public website? Perhaps GoKunming could pass the question on and ask them to reply.

As Tiger mentioned, by 'invitation only' they mean you need to contact them and ask for an invite. Not too much trouble to do.

@Redjon77 I'm hoping they have bangers and mash, English brekkie and fish and chips! The hard part will be deciding which to get.. I may have to go more than once! :P

Get them all, it is on for a week.

tis a trade event. flying the gb flag to local trade and industry. if i want people at the invest uk workshop i want potential large scale investors i don;t want joe soap ear wigging what might be comercially sensitive information. especially bout stuff then dont really understant. and it is clear that some people dont understand the meaning and purpose of this event or even the role of the trade consul. as for the comment of why put it on gokunming. how many of the expat trade people read gok? most of us. how many of us read the consular websites? duh!

The cultural events are all open to the public.
I can understand why the whiskey night, and cheese and wine events are invitation only. I wouldn't want me in either of those. Trough, gurgle, burp... LOL

Haha, i was going to, but looking at the map, it seems to be out near Dianchi. Which is pretty far for me.

It's a fancy nice hotel, and the area around it is pleasant for biking. Make a day of it, but yeah, it's probably hour+ on multiple buses and don't be surprised if your first three taxi drivers don't know where it is.

Typical, we are a Dongguan based Importer of one of the best award winning Devon Ciders. We have registered with the BCC in Guangzhou. We also have a large stock of our cider in Kunming. But I knew nothing of this event.

Apparently the food event at the Intercontinental Hotel will be 368RMB, unless you get discount coupons.
I will not be going.
These are stupid rich prices. I am not poor, but not stupid either. I won't be going.

Hmmm tiger tiger, your comments makes one wonder of your financial situation. A question, what can you offer by attending such an event ?

Nice try, but this is an open to the public event.

I can well afford, but choose not to pay 368 for a buffet.

Hell! I doubt they even have any cider.
Whoever attends will only be offering cash.

Wow thanks for the heads up tigertiger. 368rmb and buffet style. I guess holding it at the Intercontinental and charging that amount will keep out the common folk. Like tiger I can afford the 368rmb, but I'll pass. I prefer how the Thai Council promotes their country and goods, with open air stalls in ordinary shopping malls and selling snacks and dishes for 10rmb or less.

Anyway, 'British culinary delights'?? An oxymoron if I ever heard one..

The emperor has no clothes

Thank you to tigertiger and to Dazzer for providing a voice of reason in this forum. I might have been able to reply sooner had I not been working 12 - 14 hour days over the past few weeks.

You are correct to say the "invitation only" events are effectively trade conferences, with specific messages for a targeted audience. The Investment event, with a panel from some of the UK's leading professional services firms, is aimed at unlocking millions of pounds' worth of FDI in to the UK, creating jobs and economic growth. Opening the event to people who want to buy a house in the UK is no t a good use of anyone's time.

For the Tourism Salon, sure, we could open it up to two dozen people who are thinking about the UK for their next holiday. Instead, we have invited the tourism industry and media who will reach far, far greater numbers of potential tourists to the UK over the next 12 months and can introduce the UK's wealth of sites of historical and cultural interest beyond London and Bicester Village. Those potential tourists, meanwhile, are warmly welcome to visit Jolie Luo's photo exhibition.

Cloudtrapezer asks why "almost all of the events are by invitation only or "fully booked" ". There are 10 events that are invitation only or already fully booked, and 8 that are open to the public. 56% would not normally be considered "almost all" of anything.

We made contact with GoKunming in order to raise the profile of the events, both public and private; and to raise the profile of the British Consulate General in Kunming so that both local citizens and expats are aware of the range of political, bilateral trade, education, culture and consular activity that we undertake, and have already been successful in this regard despite the event not launching for another two days.

I hope that you will come along to support and enjoy the open events throughout the week.

Simon Mellon
UK Trade Consul
British Consulate General, Chongqing

@tigertiger, Dazzer You must be up for a free lunch award or at least a doggy bag. Come back and let's know what the grub was.

Wow... 368RMB... I won't be going, what a rip off. :(
This is already a bad start to 'British week in Kunming' in my eyes.

Shame on you.

5 Star venue, 5 star prices. Not a helpful venue. It is so far out of town that many people who should be going may not have the time to make the trek.

@mPRin How else do you keep out riff-raff (myself included)? This is hard-nosed and probably self financing. If you're quibbling over £37 a head for dinner then you're not a target 'guest'. No one's going to miss you - or me.


Why didn't you guys go with a famous British photographer instead of an unknown Chinese photographer that mostly does self portraits?


A third of the price would have been enough to keep the riff raff out. Unless Gordon Ramsay is the chef, then there is no justification for that price.

I'd pay to hear Gordon Ramsay swear at me..:)

@andrewD this event is showcasing GB so why wyould you have a CH photographer on dispaly?

@Dazzer: You've misread what I've wrote. I am saying they should showcase a GB photographer. The one they are showcasing is from China. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

That 368rmb price has always been the same at the hotel for the buffet whether or not they doing the British promotion, still go once a month as they do a proper moneys worth variety and selection of foods & drinks, got to treat yourself every now and then lol.
Be checking the British one tonight so let you know how it went regarding food quality, in other words was it the real deal, not chinglish grub lol

@Redjon77: lol at Chinglish grub. I'm going to start using that. Thanks for letting us know.

@Everyone else: Just got back from the photo exibit. It's definitly worth a look. The photo's were really good. I think Jolie Luo has a lot of potential as an artist.

One of the events is "UK Luxury Brands Display". So 368 RMB sounds about right for that target group.

So what do y'all think are the chances of Britain benefitting from these events? What works for/against them? Certainly looks like the Great Britain events are being boycotted by the local britons...seems to me a bad sign if they cant even try to build relations with their own landsmen and women.

Well if you looking for British food at culinary event you'll be pretty disappointed as I ended up lol
It was the same usual buffet (good as normal) but with a few British selections added and these wasn't the real deal either! Fish & chips were one, consisted of thinly cut pieces of potato plus little bits of cod in soggy batter, deserts were the only good thing with blackberry crumble and bread pudding tasting quite good :) but still more Chinese and Indian selections than British.

All in all a good buffet as usual but not a British culinary buffet by no stretch!

Oh well, still stuffed lol

boycotted? it is a trade and industry event, generally. not aimed at building relations with own people. putting the feelers out for FDI into GB. lots of interest there methinks from lots of weatlhy chinese looking to invest.

Obviously they aren't trying to please the palate of local expats, but trying to force the glamourisation of the British brand to compete with the French and other countries offering luxury products.
Local Britons should be glad the organisers of those events are trying to find ways to help accelerate their economy's growth.

Yes just that optimistic side of me thinking it was going to be what I wanted, not what they needed lol

@redjon77, just curious: were they handing out contacts and information about suppliers or importers for British food products?

Dazzer, Yankee

Exactly. And what i mean is - why are'nt they trying to please the palate of local expats? Its the other way around yankee - its the local expats who promote the home country, not the pompous empty suits. Seems to me like they're very interested in forming new relationships, but dont care a hoot about maintaining a relationship, even with fellow landsmen. A "butterfly".

As for the business side, Lightning who wrote above seems to me exactly the kind of person they need to talk to, yet he didnt even know about the event despite being registered.

If i was a Chinese businessman at these events, i would'nt trust 'em as far as i could throw 'em. I'd probably trust Lightning, though.

@yankee00, no promotional things handed out, the nearest they came with that was a few small British flags around the food selections lol

The UK Trade Investment group - similar to it's american, french, etc counterparts, is interested in generating significant trade revenue with their respective sovereign countries. Unless one is a recognized foreign expert in Kunming/Yunnan - I doubt most British expats will be on the UKTI radar (and if you're NOT paying UK taxes - you probably DON'T WANT to be on their radar).

Most trade delegations seek deals ranging in the tens of millions (GBP or USD) into the 100s of millions (GPB or USD) and of course - the dreamy multi-billion GBP/USD strata.

If you're in any of these strata of deal making - you'd have already contacted the UKTI pro-actively as opposed to passively waiting for the UKTI to discover the hidden treasure trove of UK expats in Kunming. O'Reilly's - while a great expat UK themed bar - wouldn't make the radar for UKTI.

Looking at the economics - a round trip business class ticket from Heathrow (London international airport) to Kunming can run up to CNY 80k (GBP 10k-ish). Assuming UKTI brought over 1 executive (b-class) and 3 staff (economy class) - the company is looking at a minimum ¥100k in airfare plus lodging, meals, transportation etc.

Assuming a conservative profit margin of 10% - that company would need to execute at least a ¥1 million dollar deal just to get close to breaking even on the travel expenses (and I haven't factored in salaries, benefits, etc).

To be on the safe side - the exec should return home with at least ¥10 mil in contracts or potential contracts, to justify the trip - sustainability and scalability issues notwithstanding.

So - if you have opportunities which benefit the UKTI at the CNY 1-10 million+ regime - that are sustainable and show scalable growth within a reasonable time frame (ie within a business executives career lifecycle) - suggest you contact the UKTI to pitch your projects.

If you're just looking for free money - then I'm sure the UKTI will treat you as the American embassy treats it's expats - indifference bordering on ignoring our existence.

Personally, I was surprised that the UK would send a trade delegation here for the week - and I see that as a potentially excellent opportunity opening up goods and services for potential import into China.

I can't wait for the French, Canadian, ANZ, and Cuban delegations to arrive next - I obviously have severe biases towards the Cuban delegation.

Based on gokm's announcement that a DIRECT (?) air route to Paris is coming - I expect the French delegation to descend upon Kunming with a trading fury (they're actually already here and vibrant), so kudos to the UKTI for recognizing Yunnan as a potential future hot spot for mutually beneficial trading opportunities.

Finally - if you've EVER worked with Chinese government officials - the first thing they will usually suggest is a trade show, symposium, or conference at a local hotel, to get things kick started. The usual "chuck money around" advice to show you're serious - with no idea on how to recover that investment in time, materials, and resources - but the vague allusion to potentially significant contracts at government scale (which would have to budgeted into the next five year plan, vetted, supported and approved by a plethora of government agencies - gratuitous baijiu fused meals, toxic cigarette smoking after meal meetings in private restaurant rooms, and gratuitous singing and drinking at "complicated" KTVs...also known in the USA as a money pit.

China has two traditional avenues of opportunity exploitation - government contracts - which tend to be sole sourced via competitive bid, and privately investment - which are rare given Chinese bank prevalence for state-owned projects where they can actually guesstimate the risks of a bad debt, versus privately funded projects - where Chinese banks don't have significant experience evaluating risk - rendering such project finance based finance near impossible.

However - the face of China's infrastructure is evolving methodically and intently towards the strengthening of domestic business infrastructures - so kudos to the UK to stepping in early (or belatedly, depending on one's perspective), but at least they're here and they've opened up an entirely new market segment for consideration and potential exploitation.

huzzah! someone else who gets it.

Its the British Consulate General and the British Council who are sponsoring this, not a "UKTI". The UKTI youre talking about is not mentioned but the contact email given is to the FCO, which in turn is part funded by the "UKTI" (as well as the british secret service MI6).
I have no problem with the events. What i do have a problem with is western consulates - with a mission to serve all citizens - bending over backwards for the corporations but dont give a monkeys about the small guy. Of course the corporations are more important but we're not talking about an 80:20 division - its 100:0. Im not running for any elections, but i guarantee y'all that if i had the task of providing support to British individuals and busineses, I'd be banging on Lightnings door and asking "is there anything i can do for you, sir?". To compare "UKTI" with the US embassy is apples and pears, and in any case, just because the US embassy ignores (according to laotou) its citizens does'nt make it ok. Or?
Ive been an expat for 30 years and started small businesses in 3 foreign countries. I've seen this a hundred times. This event in my view is yet another example of a western TRADING organization freeriding on the back of a willing CITIZEN organization. Did they bring anything that the local expats can be proud about, point at and say to the chinese "this is where i come from"? With gimmicks, bad food, chinese photography, and raucous advertising (british culinary delights, british whisky - are u for real?) I'd doubt it.

Thats my view, its harsh, but its formed through experience. Maybe its also wrong.

I have participated 3~4 events that are open to public but nothing was worth it. I also was gonna attend the dinner but if the buffet costs that expensive then I won't go. I guess I expected too much..

why should a home based tax payer pay for consulates to pander to expats who don't pay tax and are unlikely to add to the home economy? it they did i think the tax payers would be unhappy. spending money attratcting fdi and developing trade is a good use fo tax payers money.

Thanks for your comment - it helps put most of the negatives on this forum in a better perspective - seems as though the UK expats (I was soundly scolded for using the word British, as it doesn't adequately describe Scotland, Wales, Ireland...and did I miss any?) are not particularly pleased with consulate and embassy support of its taxpayer base abroad.

I've actually contacted the US Embassy, Commerce Trade, and Chamber of Commerce (loosely affiliated) on USD billion dollar opportunities - my consistent opinion is they don't care - so I pander the projects to other qualified foreign governments.

The US Embassy and Consulate (with a little aggressive prodding) are generally responsive - but as our government prefers to give away BILLIONS of our taxpayer money to foreign countries in aid (and ostensibly to make various special interest US companies ludicriously wealthy aka Blackwater etc) - I believe I'm justifiably offended when our embassy (as directed by the US State Department) charges us ludicrous fees.

I've visited the Chengdu consulate for various emergency situations (not life threatening but portending economic hardship) to be initially rebuffed by the Chinese staff as I didn't have an appointment (for an emergency? Who can plan their emergencies?), wrong day, wrong office hours (I came in the morning), etc - basically and exhibition of seriously destitute, abrasive, and offensive customer training that I would label abusively negligent.

HOWEVER, a simple forceful escalation of the issue to the US Government officer resolved all issues to mutual satisfaction (ludicrous fees aside).

I've never dealt with the British Embassy (apologies in advance to all you Welsh people for bunching y'all into that group), but I've found the current wave of UKTI staff courteous, bright, intelligent, and motivated. Can't please everyone - but at least I get the sense they're trying.

Within Asia - I've found the US Trade agencies tend to focus on relationship building with formal government entities - such as CCPIT etc.

As a US citizen - it's still my patriotic duty to give the US government and companies first option to proceed/decline opportunities (non-responsive is construed as an implicit decline) - these days it's merely a gestural motion as my experience has consistently been non-responsive - as I don't network with big brand business cards - which works fine with me as I'm not obligated to give special attention or benefits to US companies...which opens up entire horizons of alternate markets and opportunities for aggressive sovereignties and companies - not to mention the exposure to the cultures and peoples of other qualified countries.

I regret that UK expats have similar experiences with their consulates and embassies - but to reiterate and summarize - I've found the current UKTI arm to be responsive, diligent, professional, courteous, and aggressive. I like that in a potential business, trade, or investment partner.

And to be fair - the USTDA (US Trade Development Agency) do have excellent programs to support various industries and trades - but it's a very time-consuming affair to take advantage of their programs and inter-agency benefits - something more attuned to a medium to large enterprise's resources.

Don't bother going. It was already closed, done and over on 3 days earlier (Thursday). Even though they advertised it would be till Sunday.

If you mean the food event finished earlier, I was at the hotel on Wednesday and did not see any evidence of a promotion.

UK Brands at the Green Lake Hotel was already wrapped and gone Thursday even though it's advertised to continue till Sunday.

What a 'Great' Britain week that was lol

not enough marketing up front, or interest from locals, or support from expats bleating the nobody does anything for them.

Don't think nobody does anything from them style, more like 'I love GB' and was hoping to get into that with a Great Britain week here. Just a shame no real chance to!
I'd probably done more promotion with the amount of people I told to check it out week before....

To me, it just looks like they've achieved their goal. They wanted to make events seem posh and select, so that the rich Chinese could spend on a part of valued foreign product/service that is ridiculously overpriced in China (like everyone knows). Making the events fully booked or invitation only, simply raises the price even more.
They have obviously made themselves heard from within the e-xpat community... This article is probably one of the most commented on GoKunming.

also, like someone pointed out above, they are most probably not looking for the regular street corner foreign investor who waits for others' actions to help him expand his business.

What a snooty, ill-tempered response from Mr Mellon. I wonder if the diplomatic service is the right career choice for him.

oh and by the way, being described as the voice of reason gotta be a welcome first for tiger and dazzer (just kidding)

Perhaps some Welshman or Scot may have to straighten me out, but since when have Wales and Scotland stopped being British? They are definitely under the same central government, and all are in the British Isles. The usual confusion here is when Wales & Scotland are included under the term 'English', and this is unfortunately the usual term used in Chinese.

Similarly, 'America' & 'American' seem to mean only the United States & its citizens, which is in fact the way most US citizens use the term. This has been annoying everybody else on the two continents for a very long time.

Then there is the ignorance which causes many people to use the word 'Arab' for everybody from Morocco to the Pakistani frontier, and to include virtually all of Central Asia under the same term.

The term 'Western' is as imprecise as 'Arab'. At the other end of the scale 'Shangri-la' is of little value to anyone except marketing people.

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