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Signing of a strategic economic partnership agreement between Limburg and Guangdong in the LED industry

Today Provincial Deputy of Economy Erik Gerits signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Chinese “Guangdong Solid State Lighting Industry Innovation Center” (GSC) in the presence of Governor of Limburg, Herman Reynders. This is the first economic outcome of the twinning of the two regions, Guangdong and Limburg. This agreement accelerates and promotes the collaboration with the LED industry in Guangdong in three specific fields, namely education, care and agriculture.

Result of the twinning between Guangdong and Limburg

Eric Gerits confirms: “Since the twinning of the provinces in 2015, the regions are getting to know each other better in various fields, including in education, culture and economy. The objective of this twinning is to strengthen Limburg’s economy by attracting new companies as well as finding new markets for Limburg-based companies. On the economic level, the emphasis in foreign acquisitions is on new industries and promising sectors. Locate in Limburg, which coordinates foreign acquisition on behalf of Limburg, wants to develop specific projects for Limburg in the short and medium to long term.”

Stephan Raemaekers, Business Development Manager van Locate in Limburg: “Thanks to the seminars and roadshows that we organised in the last two years, we were able to reach a growing number of companies and organisations that are interested in choosing Limburg as their European base. This agreement will boost our relations with Chinese companies in the LED industry. Which, in turn, will give rise to new investments. In autumn, Locate in Limburg is planning to organise an additional roadshow and seminar for the members of the Guangdong Solid Center. This will enable them to learn more about the innovative and dynamic province of Limburg.”

Limburg as a testing ground for the European market

The agreement focuses on three specific fields: agriculture, education and care. In the field of agriculture, we are currently studying a participation with Agropolis. The Chinese LED organisation has realised that Limburg, in addition to having financial and technological benefits, is also the perfect testing ground for testing and marketing new projects at European level. GSC can become a first economic anchor which fuels knowledge exchange, business matching and export opportunities. In the long term, this will also attract Chinese companies to Limburg. According to GSC, the innovative entrepreneurial landscape in Limburg encourages Chinese companies to look beyond their borders. The Chinese government also recently published two new strategies about this, i.e. “Going Global” and “International Industrial Capacity Cooperation”.

Sowing the first seeds of the UHasselt and Guangdong University of Technology partnership

It had already been agreed in October 2015 that the Guangdong University of Technology (GDUT) would make at least one visit to Limburg, and more specifically, to UHasselt.

The scientific delegation from the Province of Guangdong, with a representation from the GDUT, not only came to Limburg today to sign the strategic partnership agreement; they also visited UHasselt. After a tour, the first concrete discussions were held between representatives of the GDUT and representatives of UHasselt’s IMO-IMOMEC. The first specific seeds of the partnership were sown today.

Provincial Deputy Jean-Paul Peuskens: “The Guangdong University of Technology already has several active partnerships abroad, and is now looking specifically at partnering with Belgium. UHasselt has interesting opportunities to offer them. This, too, will help solidify the twinning between both provinces.”

Governor Herman Reynders: “I am strongly convinced that these types of partnerships can only benefit the world. Teaching young people about other cultures, teachers about other methods; professors sharing expertise and knowledge, working together… It also benefits the quality of everyone’s education. We therefore want to get this partnership process on the right track with combined strength and with everyone involved."

About the Guangdong Solid State Lighting Industry Innovation Center

GSC is an innovation centre for the LED industry in Guangdong, China’s strongest province in economic terms. The organisation has the support of the Department of Science & Technology and mainly focuses on exchange projects with its members. In this framework, GSC contacts foreign companies and lets its own members export their products or extend their activities abroad.

About Locate in Limburg

The organisation Locate in Limburg was established in 2014 after the closure of Ford Genk. It contributes to reducing the high level of unemployment by drawing foreign investors to Limburg.

About the twinning

During the royal visit of King Philip I and Queen Mathilde to China in June 2015, the Provinces of Guangdong and Limburg signed a partnership agreement. This partnership agreement is a unique opportunity to position Limburg vis-à-vis Chinese policy-makers and entrepreneurs and investors. In October 2015, a first delegation, led by Governor Herman Reynders and Provincial Deputy Jean-Paul Peuskens, visited the Province of Guangdong. The objective of this mission was to further extend the partnership. A successful seminar was organised and interesting discussions held in the field of education. These will probably lead to specific collaborations this spring. In this framework, VOKA - the Chamber of Commerce of Limburg signed a partnership agreement with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). Limburg was promoted as an innovative, dynamic but also beautiful region in the large city library of Guangzhou and during the various meetings that were organised during this visit.


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