Mayor in Beijing to promote London

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The Independent Online

London Mayor Boris Johnson will start a whistle-stop tour of China next week, seeking to persuade Chinese businesses to open offices in London ahead of the 2012 games.

The move will mark the start of a three-month campaign that is being run by inward investment agency Think London, the Bank of China and financial adviser Deloitte to boost trade between China and the UK by 50 per cent over the next two years.

Known as "The Road to London", the campaign will take in 11 cities across China. At the Beijing Olympics, there will be four setpiece events – two attended by Mr Johnson and the others by British ministers.

Think London chief executive Michael Charlton said: "We will start the campaign in Beijing next week, and we will use the games as a catalyst to get Chinese companies over."

Other cities that the roadshow will visit include Shanghai and Tianjin, finishing at Hong Kong. Prime Minister Gordon Brown hopes the lobbying will help him reach his target of 100 new Chinese businesses setting up in London by 2010.

Mr Johnson is currently shaking up most of the organisations he inherited when elected Mayor in May. He has hired headhunter TMP Worldwide to find a new chief executive for the London Development Agency, the body for business and jobs.