Mission by Minister Jean-François Lisée to China – Québec SMEs set up shop in China

Beijing, October 15, 2013 - Jean-François Lisée, the Minister of International Relations, La Francophonie and External Trade, has been in China since Monday. He has been able to witness first-hand the success and progress of a number of Québec companies in the Chinese market. Three Québec consumer products companies took advantage of his trip to Beijing to announce the opening of their first boutiques in China.

“The emergence of a middle class with growing purchasing power is opening up new niches for our distinctive products. China is becoming an attractive market for our designers, manufacturers and distributors,”, the Minister noted.

Montréal company M0851, which designs and manufactures its original leather bags, coats and accessories in Montréal, set the ball rolling by inaugurating its first boutique in continental China in the heart of a trendy commercial district close to downtown Beijing.

Montréal-based Maison Birks, Canada’s premier luxury jewellery brand, also announced this week that it will be opening its first store in China in early 2014 at Beijing’s Xanadu Plaza. The company made the announcement in the presence of Jean-François Lisée and numerous media representatives. The decision is the fruit of several years of hard work by the company, with help from the Government of Québec, which proved crucial.

A third company, Judith & Charles, which designs women’s fashion, is celebrating the opening of its first franchises in continental China. Judith & Charles, which will be participating in the exclusive Montréal Collections fashion show in Shanghai this week, announced the opening of a boutique in Guangshou and a second in Wuhan, and is considering the possibility of adding other stores in 2014.

“We are seeing an evolution in our trade relations with China. While “Made in China” products were the norm not so long ago, now it’s possible to manufacture “Made in Québec” products for the Chinese market. This new trend should provide the inspiration for others to try their hand,” added Mr. Lisée.

This exciting day in Beijing ended with a networking reception marking the 15th anniversary of the Québec Government Office in Beijing. The reception was also an occasion for three announcements: Novalux will stage a new show in China, McGill University has signed an agreement with the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications to strengthen existing ties and to develop a research and training collaborative framework while Alliance numérique has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the China Cultural Industry Association (CCIA), an agency of the Chinese Ministry of Culture. As part of the MOU, CCIA will represent China as the guest country of honour at the next Montréal International Game Summit.

Jinan - Shandong

Monday saw the signing of the minutes of the 3rd Québec-Shandong Working Group in the capital of the Province of Shandong, which has been twinned with Québec since 2008. Six cooperation projects were selected in the fields of education, vocational training, urban land use, culture and the environment.

The development of political, cultural and business ties was at the heart of a productive meeting between the Québec Minister and the Deputy Governor of Shandong, who announced that he will see to the creation of a Québec Demonstration Zone that will help raise awareness of Québec know-how in Shandong.

Meetings were also held with the Dean of the Institute of Economic and Environmental Law at the University of Shandong and the Director of the Shandong Regional Museum, with which the Musée de la civilisation in Québec City wishes to develop exhibition exchanges.

Québec and Shandong, both members of the Conference of Heads of Government of Partner Regions, have developed strong cooperative relationships since 2002 in various spheres, including the economy, trade, research and innovation, training, education and tourism.

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Information :
Bruno Sarra-Bournet
Communications Officer
418 455-2888

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