Business leaders from the West Midlands are targeting a push on sales to China after a series of events to welcome in the Chinese new year.

A group of 16 companies from Coventry and Warwickshire – with products ranging from bespoke jewellery to vehicle washing systems – will travel with the region’s chamber of commerce to Hong Kong on March 15.

The trip has been organised to highlight the diverse range of trade opportunities in the Hong Kong and Chinese markets.

Events have taken place in Birmingham’s Chinatown and Emperors Restaurant in Leamington to celebrate the Chinese new year.

Sarah Wu, the director general of the Hong Kong Economic Trade Office, who spoke at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce event, said she hoped with would inspire businesses to look to trade with China via the Hong Kong route.

She said: “Hong Kong remains an excellent route into China for companies in this area.

“This was a very good way to celebrate the Chinese Year of the Tiger and hopefully that image will inspire companies to look to trade with Hong Kong and China.”

Chamber director Mark Eaton said: “China offers a great opportunity for many businesses in this region and Hong Kong can act as a soft landing for those companies looking to explore the potential of doing business out there.

“We will have a delegation going to Hong Kong again this year and we are very much looking forward to helping more firms from Coventry and Warwickshire trade there.”

More than 300 business leaders, dignitaries and guests attended the official Chinese New Year celebration dinner organised by the Birmingham Chinese Society at the China Court restaurant, in the heart of the city’s China town.

Executives from many of the region’s leading businesses enjoyed the evening including senior managers from Shanghai Automotive, the owners of the former Rover group, the Wing Yip food chain and several well known restaurants including the Wing Wah restaurant group.

The chairman of the Birmingham Chinese Society, Ken Tong, said: “The evening has brought together many of the leading companies in the region and the UK which are Chinese run and based here in Birmingham.

“The celebrations we hope will give everybody a real sense of optimism for the economy in the Year of the Tiger,” he added.

“As an organisation we will be using our contacts with these leading Chinese businesses across the city along with our connections in China and the Far East so the Chinese community maximises its role in the economic recovery during the year.”

Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby said: “Birmingham and Chinahave some of the most sophisticated links now than any city in the UK.”

* Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber is organising visits to Hong Kong in June and November. Interested companies should ring 024 7665 4321.