A delegation from China's 33rd largest city Ningbo headed to Birmingham this week to boost trade with the city.
And companies here might do well to listen – as it has a population almost the same as London.
The vice-mayor of the port city, located in the northeast of Zhejiang province, headed a business delegation at a China British Business Council forum at Villa Park this week.
The message from the event was clear – exporting is not only for the big boys – firms of all sizes should be looking to grow sales in China.
The vice-mayor of Ningbo, Wang Jianhou, told the Post: "I know Birmingham is one of the most important industrial cities in the UK.
"The major purpose of my visit is to introduce the city of Ningbo to more local companies and to explore more opportunities between us and Birmingham for future cooperation in areas such as manufacturing, machinery and shipping, as well as the modern service industry."
Ningbo is one of China's oldest cities and an important port in the Silk Trail.
While it is considered only a medium-sized city, with an administrative area of 7.6 million it is seven times the size of Birmingham.
Mr Wang said companies based in Ningbo had already invested around £43 million in UK projects.
Qian Ji Guang, director of the Ningbo Free Trade Zone, was also part of the delegation. He said: "The market for imported goods in China is very big. We want to attract more companies to invest in China and understand the needs and demands of Chinese consumers.
"Lots of British companies have visited Ningbo and we are trying to attract them to invest there."
The second SME China Forum aimed to help UK SMEs gain a better understanding of how they could do business in China, offered networking opportunities with companies and organisations that could assist them.
It saw more than 200 representatives of UK and Chinese companies, trade organisations and government gathering in Birmingham, with a particular focus on the investing in the Chinese city.
Stewart Ferguson, West Midlands director for the China-British Business Council, said: "There is a perception that China is for the big boys but you just have to look at the companies we work with on a day-to-day basis and those that are members of CBBC to see that is just not the case.
"That perception is changing though and if there is any region in the UK where it has changed most then that would be the West Midlands.
"Perhaps it is because of the amount of bilateral engagement that has developed since SAIC and MG.
"There was a fear factor but in the West Midlands that fear factor has gone, though I know it is not quite the same in other regions.
"It goes to prove the rewards that are there if people step out of their comfort zones."
The region continues to be a trailblazer in terms of exporting to China, amounting to the equivalent of £5.60 per day for everyone in the West Midlands, according to Mr Ferguson.
Exports from the region have doubled in the last two years and almost half of the goods exported from England to China in the last quarter were from the West Midlands.
England's exports totalled £2.9 billion in the second quarter of the year, with those from the Midlands amounting to £1.4 billion.
That represented a 19 per cent rise compared to the first quarter and the West Midlands remains the only UK region with an export surplus to China, expanding to £1.74 billion last year.
Mr Ferguson highlighted SAIC's investment in MG, Geely's investment in The London Taxis Company and Shandong Yongtai in body panels supplier Covpress as good examples of inward investment bringing benefits in the West Midlands.