Celebrations have taken place in Shanghai this week, marking 10 years since Birmingham City University established a representative office in China.
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Carl Rice led the festivities on Monday 26 September, addressing senior academics and graduates from the University, along with members of the British Council in China, local stakeholders and recruitment partners.
Birmingham City University’s Shanghai office was established in 2006 to promote the University’s courses across mainland China, as well as guiding prospective students through the application process. It also has a role in helping to establish university partnerships.
Since the Shanghai representative office opened with one staff member, more than 5,000 students have joined the University from China and the institution has gone on to base staff in both Beijing and Wuhan, with a total team of 10.
Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Carl Rice, visiting Shanghai for the first time, said: “I am delighted to be in Shanghai, flying the flag for the city of Birmingham, which has a close and long-standing relationship with China. At the heart of our city is Birmingham City University, which is currently home to 800 students from China. Along with an already welcoming community of Chinese descent, these students enrich our city and contribute so much to what makes Birmingham a great place to live, work and study.
“Birmingham City University has been instrumental in the regeneration of the Eastside area of Birmingham and has made an investment of £260 million in new facilities. Coupled with its wide array of world-renowned courses from jewellery design to accountancy and business, there really has never been a better time for Chinese students to be part of Birmingham City University.”
The celebrations took place at the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel, which is located in the historic Puxi area of Shanghai, while the office itself is housed within the nearby Academy of International Visual Arts (AIVA).
As well as dealing with all the University’s applications from across China, including Hong Kong, the office has helped establish nearly 30 Memoranda of Understanding with Chinese universities, including the highly-ranked Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Communication University of China and Changshu Institute of Technology.
Birmingham City University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cliff Allan was also present at the celebration event today. He said: “Our China office in Shanghai is a window for Chinese students and institutions to understand and get to know Birmingham City University better. Our staff here are an important bridge between China and the UK, not only showcasing the innovative and high quality education we offer, but promoting the benefits of cultural exchange between our two countries.
“Thousands of Chinese students have come to Birmingham City University over the past 10 years through our Shanghai office and these students have made a fantastic impact across the University and the City with their creativity, hard work and enthusiasm.”
Birmingham City University enrolled its first student from mainland China in 1991. Recent graduates now occupy senior positions in a wide range of organisations including Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Jaguar Land Rover, Kimberly-Clark Professional, Lenovo, Michael Kors and Shanghai Disney Resort.
The celebrations in Shanghai have taken place just two days before the official opening of Birmingham City University’s first overseas transnational educational institute in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province.
Birmingham Institute of Fashion and Creative Art is a partnership between Birmingham City University and Wuhan Textile University and currently offers three undergraduate programmes: BA (Hons) Visual Communication, BA (Hons) Landscape Architecture and BSc (Hons) Digital Media Technology.
The Institute is the first non-profit, Chinese-foreign cooperatively run educational institution in Hubei province to offer undergraduate programmes.