China should not be seen as a threat but an opportunity for British manufacturers, the country's ambassador said during a trip to the Midlands.
Zha Peixin visited the Confederation of British Metal-forming and cold roll formers Hadley Industries during a two day trip to the region.
He said an increasing number of companies from China were looking to set up overseas ventures with encouragement from the governmnent, while the country was also a large scale importer.
This included consumer goods which could be produced in the Midlands as well as components which could be used in China.
He said: "Last year China imported a total of $700 billion; China is now the third largest trading nation in the world.
"Chinese development means great opportunities for Britain at large and Birmingham in particular."
Mr Zha said there was a huge demand in China for British-produced goods and components, particularly for the country's burgeoning automotive and aerospace industry.
There was also scope for joint ventures between British and Chinese firms, and investment by UK companies.
"China is the most attractive place to invest; last year there was $60 billion investment.
"There is also scope for technology transfer and working together to solve problems.
"This is true in developing technology which is environ-mentally friendly by using less materials and cutting down on waste."
The Chinese embassy in the UK was on hand to facilitate improved links between the companies, with official exchanges encouraged.
This was particularly true for SMEs, which may lack their own China specialists like huge multinationals or the funds to go it alone.
"It has to be two way traffic," said Mr Zha.
"Chinese companies can learn from the technical skills developed in Britain and British companies can learn from British firms."
Mr Zha added: "China is not an economic threat. Our development poses no threat to anybody; it offers great opportunities.
"First of all China is one of the engines of the global economy and has contributed 12 per cent in terms of growth.
"China is a very good place for direct investment. Four hundred of the Fortune 500 companies have invested in China and those investments have made them good profits.
"China offers great opportunities for cooperation in all fields with benefits for the consumers as well.
"We should work together. There will always be competition, if not from China, then from the US and Europe. That is the way of the world.
"The winners are those who see the opportunities and seize them."
Stan Hardy, projects director at the CBM, said the Midlands' reputation for innovation stood it in good stead.
He said there was also opportunities for Midland firms as China developed and improved its infrastructure.
"China is seen as a major commercial threat, it has the largest population in the world, the second largest land mass and can produce high volume high quality goods at prices we can only dream about.
"But it is also the biggest opportunity presented to European and British manufacturers; the vast pace of Chinese development will demand innovative solutions and offer opportunities."