Cheshire authorities are hoping a visit from the Chinese deputy consul could “lead to some investment in Chinese tourism” in the area.
Fan Yingjie visited Macclesfield at short notice to explore the town’s historic links with China’s silk trade and the Silk Road trade route from China to Europe.
Cheshire East Council and Macclesfield Town Council are currently exploring ways to forge stronger cultural links with China, while the country’s president Xi Jingping is said to be keen to re-establish the ‘silk road’ as a new 21st Century trade route.
Following the visit Councillor Ainsley Arnold, Cheshire East’s cabinet member for regeneration, says: “This all happened on a very impromptu basis, at short notice, and we were extremely pleased to show Mr Yingjie around the Silk Museum, heritage centre and Paradise Mill, where the old Jacquard looms are on display.
“We hope this will be the beginning of a new chapter for Macclesfield and its links with China. We hope it may lead to some investment in Chinese tourism in Macclesfield and stronger cultural links with the country.
“Macclesfield Town Council are very much in the driving seat on this one and we at Cheshire East are giving what support we can to help with this.”
Facilitated by the Manchester China Forum, Fan Yingjie’s appearance in the area also follows a visit by a China TV film crew back in May.
The station, which broadcasts to more than one billion viewers, carried a series of short items about Macclesfield and its silk heritage.