B.C. advanced education minister finds commercial opportunities in China

CHONGQING, China – B.C.’s advanced education minister believes opportunities abound for British Columbia with Chinese companies that want to work with the province on technology, engineering and natural resources.

Andrew Wilkinson is travelling China trying to establish education-related partnerships as part of a number of government trade missions.

On a call from Chongqing Thursday, Wilkinson said there has been much attention from local companies that want to partner with B.C. companies on LNG-related ventures, engine design and aviation.

The minister said the B.C. Institute of Technology has been asked to provide extensive vocational training in that city in southwest China.

He said representatives from China’s multibillion-dollar software industry have also expressed interest in working closely with provincial companies and institutions.

Wilkinson said other key areas of discussion have been research co-operation and student exchanges, and he announced a scholarship between BCIT and Chongqing’s Southwest University.

“Our British Columbia institutions have a very strong reputation here,” he said.

“What we have found is that there’s deep interest in ongoing commercial activity related to this academic exchange.”

The government stated in a news release that it hoped the funding will attract international students to engineering, IT and vocational programs.

Wilkinson has visited institutions in four Chinese cities along with representatives from B.C. post-secondary institutions, and will visit two institutions more before he heads home.