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23 October 2015
Second City

Today sees Manchester again ‘honoured’ as the being the UK’s second city with the visit of the President of China and the Prime Minister. 

After a lavish reception at Manchester Airport and the Manchester Town Hall, the comedy duo headed to the Etihad campus to have a look at the genuinely world class facilities being developed there, and to watch a Chinese select XI take on a City team in a training match ahead of this Sunday’s derby. 

During one of the Q&A sessions, we noted that President Xi is a lifelong United fan (“I was born a Red, I’ll die a Red” he didn’t say), whilst Cameron refused to be drawn on which of the Manchester clubs he’ll be supporting this weekend – partly, one suspects, because he doesn’t know which is which (Not a fan of the sports of the masses, this is a man who got confused over whether he supported Aston Villa or West Ham!).

Regardless, it was genuinely good news that the City is being seen as an important staging post, and it is good news for the businesses of the region that the Chinese are investing so much in Manchester – from the £800m ‘Airport City’ office/food/entertainment super-estate to some of the new skyscrapers, and indeed, to the announcement of a new direct flight between Manchester and China (the first direct flight between China and anywhere outside London), which the Government estimate will be worth £50m a year to the region.

With the BBC and ITV setting up shop here, and an ever-increasing influence, it seems clear that our great city is starting to go places....

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