A trade delegation led by Advantage West Midlands chief executive John Edwards has visited the Far East in a bid to strengthen trade and investment links between the region and China.
The party travelled to Shandong Province to sign a memorandum of understanding to work more closely on economic development opportunities.
The province, which has a population of more than 90 million, is one of the emerging economies in China which is becoming increasingly powerful in the ICT, telecommunications and pharmaceutical sectors.
Attended by representatives from AWM, UK Trade & Investment and Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, the tour also took in various companies including Haier, which has grown to a value approaching $1 billion in just 20 years.
The firm makes white goods for the home, television and computers, employing more than 8,000 people of whom 3,000 are development engineers.
Mr Edwards said: "Our Chinese partners consider these co-operation agreements as being of central importance to their future growth while we see it as an opportunity to be part of the development of the major new global economy.
"What strikes you on visiting China is the sheer pace and scale of development - whether in terms of buildings coming out of the ground or companies doing business. But we must not fall into the trap of thinking this growth is being fuelled entirely by inward investment and assembly plants.
"Clearly, there are real opportunities for companies in the West Midlands who are at the leading edge of technology and wish to expand their operations into Chinese markets to get in on the ground floor.
"There are also real opportunities for us to attract these rapidly growing Chinese companies into the West Midlands region.
"By forging these trade links our region will be in a better position in the future to take advantage of opportunities in a dynamic and growing economy."