Regional trio backs Prime Minister’s Chinese mission

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Three businessmen with links to South Yorkshire have joined Prime Minister David Cameron’s trade delegation to China.

Keith Jackson, of Sheffield medical implant firm JRI Orthopaedics, Brian Reece of instrumentation specialists Sheffield Precision Medical and Stephen Blatchford, of Chas A Blatchford, which has a large factory in Atlas, are representing the city’s healthtech industry within the 120-strong group. The trade mission will be travelling to Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities and hopes to announce big money deals.

It includes Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline, and Richard Scudamore, chief executive of the Premier League which has a vast audience in China. But it is dominated by representatives of small and medium businesses, reflecting Downing Street’s efforts to boost exports. Mr Cameron’s visit follows that of George Osborne, the Chancellor, and Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, last month, during which a number of substantial investments were announced. Major deals made recently by China in UK companies include financial backing for Manchester’s new ‘airport city’, and the acquisition of stakes in Thames Water and Heathrow Airport.

Sheffield Precision Medical is currently doubling its workforce and increasing capacity at its Petre Street premises to meet international customer demand. The company designs and manufactures a comprehensive range of instruments used by orthopaedic surgeons around the world.

The company is investing more than £2m in extending its factory and installing new machines and systems, with plans to increase the workforce from 27 to 53 over the next three years.