Championing British Business Success – British Chamber Shanghai Embarks on Its Centenary Year

Published on 2015-02-03

The British Chamber of Commerce Shanghai initiated its yearlong Centenary celebration by hosting a launch party on 29 January, 2015 at the InterContinental Hotel Puxi.

The British Chamber of Commerce Shanghai (British Chamber Shanghai) initiated its yearlong Centenary celebration by hosting a launch party on 29 January, 2015 at the InterContinental Hotel Puxi. British Consul-General in Shanghai, Brian Davidson, and Chairman of the British Chamber Shanghai, Neal Beatty, were both in attendance and gave keynote speeches to the 250 plus guests. Other VIP attendees included the Irish Consul-General in Shanghai, Austin Gormley; and representatives from the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Shanghai Committee, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce (SCOFCOM), and the Jing’an District.

Neal Beatty
British Chamber Shanghai Chairman - Neal Beatty

In May of 1915, during the time of the Great War in Europe, a group of British merchants gathered at the British Consul’s residence in Shanghai to discuss how to protect British business interests during a time of conflict. The meeting culminated in the formation of the British Chamber of Commerce Shanghai. The history of the founding of the Chamber is well documented and some of the founding member companies are still in place today. Indeed, the first honorary president of the British Chamber Shanghai was Sir. Everard Fraser, the British Consul-General from 1901 to 1922, who oversaw an executive committee which was headed by the founding Chairman, Mr. John Johnstone, Head of Jardine, Matheson & Co., Ld.

As one of the oldest foreign Chambers still operating in China, the British Chamber Shanghai has withstood the test of time and continues to thrive. Although the Chamber continues to evolve with the local landscape, its original ethos of members helping members, in the interests of growing British trade with China, is as true today as it was 100 years ago. In this Centenary year, the Chamber is planning to continue introducing additional activities to bring value-added benefits to its members and the British business community as a whole. The ‘Global Visionaries’ event series is one such example which will see the Chamber invite captains of industry and key political figures to present their view of global commerce and how it relates to business in China. On a more social note, the ‘Centenary Charity Ball’ aims to bring 1,000 guests together to celebrate what we hope will be the biggest British Chamber Ball Shanghai has seen to date. From the CSR side, a ‘Bright Eyes’ project will offer eye-testing and, where needed, provide prescription glasses to primary school children in Lixin County, Anhui Province.

launch party
British Chamber Shanghai Centenary Launch Party

Whilst a time to celebrate and reflect is important, as the Chamber begins its second century of existence, the intention is to maintain an unwavering commitment to innovation, further broadening the service scope, sharing business insights further and wider. Just like London’s transformation from a sprawling metropolis to the world financial centre it is today, Shanghai is also becoming increasingly interconnected and multifunctional. Leveraging Shanghai’s ever more commercially advantageous position, the Chamber will continue fostering relationships between British and Chinese companies, disseminating a swelling pool of members’ knowledge and resources, thus strengthening the trade between China and the UK.

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