Publication - Publication

Working with China: five-year engagement strategy

Published: 4 Dec 2012
External Affairs Directorate
Part of:
Economy, International

High-level strategy setting out the Scottish Government’s ambitions in developing Scotland’s relationship with China over the next five years.

18 page PDF

210.8 kB

18 page PDF

210.8 kB

Working with China: five-year engagement strategy
Priority Area 4

18 page PDF

210.8 kB

Priority Area 4

To promote an innovative and creative Scotland through deeper cultural exchanges and sporting links with China and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; and promoting Scotland as a destination of choice for Chinese tourists.


  • Target 4.1: Increase Scotland's share of the value of Chinese visitors to Scotland, as a proportion of the UK spend to 6% (increased from 3.5% on Scotland's share of Chinese spend between 2009 and 2011).
  • Target 4.2: Monitor progress of the objectives within the Cultural Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China and ensure that all 4 key elements within the MoU are actively delivered.


  • Promote and develop the Scotland-China Cultural Memorandum of Understanding to increase cultural exchanges, collaborations and educational outreach opportunities.
  • Identify opportunities to promote Scotland's Creative Industries sector through the other key strands within this strategy .
  • Encourage all partners to recognise the opportunities culture offers for wider engagement with China.
  • Trade marketing activities to ensure that Scotland is included within travel trade products and PR to increase awareness of Scotland within the wider population.
  • Develop further collaborations between Scotland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region such as through our respective sports institutes, the development of major sports facilities, enhancing links between Operation Breakthrough and our Cashback for Communities programme and strengthening links between Scottish Rugby and the Hong Kong RFU.
  • Establish links with the Chinese Golf Association and the Shanghai Golf Association to develop an exchange programme involving junior golfers through competition, culture and education.
  • Utilise Scotland's position as 'The Home of Golf', which is underlined by the hosting of such world class golf tournaments as the Ryder Cup and Open Championship, to encourage more Chinese tourists to take golfing holidays in Scotland.


An increase in tourism from China (potentially group and niche tourism such as golf, families of students, business visitors extending their trip and convention) can contribute to an increase in GDP through an increase in tourism expenditure in Scotland. This will help to achieve the tourism industry's growth ambitions as well as boosting our key exports such as food and drink.

The new industry-led tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020, has identified China as an emerging market. Three main groups in China will be targeted in the coming years: those with the highest disposable income; the emerging middle classes; and the students and the visiting friends and relatives market.

Complementing VisitScotland's own dedicated work with the travel trade and media contacts in China, we will seek to maximise the opportunities for Scotland arising from the additional funding which has been awarded to VisitBritain specifically for the marketing of the UK in China.

Securing a direct air route from China to Scotland will also increase the attractiveness of Scotland for not only tourism but will lead to greater trade and investment to (and from) China.

Culture can help to articulate our distinct national identity, provides opportunities for artists and creative practitioners to work together to enhance mutual understanding and create an atmosphere of trust, celebration and co-operation. Scottish artists and cultural practitioners may benefit from opportunities to share their skills, present their work to new audiences, reach new markets and establish creative collaborations with their peers in China. Culture and creativity can also add significant value to educational, scientific tourism and business activities.

Edinburgh Zoo has recently seen the arrival of two Giant Pandas, which has generated great public interest in Scotland. In China itself, Historic Scotland is leading a partnership with the State Administration for Cultural Heritage which is digitally recording the Eastern Qing Tombs as part of the Scottish 10 project, using 3D scanning technologies. The resulting records of the World Heritage Site will be presented to the Chinese people in 2013. Both these exchanges demonstrate the substantive and meaningful collaborations between our two cultures.

The Scottish Government and the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China signed a Cultural Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in December 2011. The MoU encourages greater collaboration and exchange between respective national cultural organisations, bodies, festivals, artists and practitioners. Cultural diplomacy encourages the use of cultural assets to enhance Scotland's reputation and supports wider Scottish Government engagement with China.

The world famous Edinburgh Festivals, comprising of 12 individual festivals and including the renowned Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe, provide excellent opportunities to develop and encourage collaborations between festivals and artists in Scotland and China. The Festivals promote the best of contemporary Scotland, our creativity, our heritage and our key growth sectors to China.

Golf in China is a growing industry especially for business people and officials, with an estimated 300,000 people playing the game. The industry is expected to grow by 25 to 30 percent every year as seen by the expansion of number of golf courses in China since 2004. We want to increase our links with China by utilising Scotland's status as The Home of Golf. Using this status and the many hundreds of world class gold courses in China, we aim to encourage the development of junior golf.

Our close links with Hong Kong Special Administrative Region can also be reinforced through our shared interest in rugby. Scotland as the birthplace of rugby sevens and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as the home of International Rugby Sevens have a common love of the sport. Inclusion in the Commonwealth Games as a core sport (since 2010) and re-introduction for both the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games will further showcase the rugby sevens linkage.


Email: China Team Mailbox,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road