There are plenty of things that spring to mind when you think of China – the wonderfully-preserved ancient culture, the fantastic cuisine, or its status as one of the industrial powerhouses of the world.
But one thing you might not think of is… Leeds?
Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has a social media account on Weibo – China’s number one social media site with more than 400 million users.
The account has also grown its number of followers from just 3,000 to more than 35,000 in the space of just one year.
Translated, the account describes Leeds as “The third largest city in the UK, the second largest financial and legal centre in the UK!”
The LEP, which is tasked with attracting and co-ordinating investment into the region, said it recently renewed a Chinese social media contract for three years.
Recent posts include a video of the Leeds Christmas market with the translated caption: “Leeds’ Christmas, food, wine, and beautiful atmosphere are all there! Still not coming around?”
Another post features a picture of Leeds Town Hall, with a caption which translates to: “Do you know? Founded in 1858, Leeds Town Hall is the most classic Victorian building. Queen Victoria participated in the unveiling of the building. Today, this is a great place for Leeds people to have fun!”
Weibo is described as a “microblogging site”, and has a similar format to Twitter. It currently has 445 million active users.
A report from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority into outside investment in the region stated: “A renewed three year Chinese Social Media Contract commenced on February 1 which manages the LEP’s Chinese social media accounts on Weibo and WeChat.
“The new contract will focus on further developing the LEP’s social media presence in China. In the last 12 months followers have increased from 3,000 to over 32,000. The most popular post last year was of the visit to China in September which received over 1.4m views.”
The authority is keen to attract investment into the region from China, adding in a recent report that an upcoming “China round table” will bring together organisations from across the region experienced in the Chinese market to help with the region’s China strategy.
The report will be discussed at West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s business, innovation and growth panel on Tuesday, February 26.